Salem Radio Network News Thursday, February 22, 2024

Sports

Soccer-Wiegman disappointed in defeat but proud of Lionesses

By Christian Radnedge

SYDNEY (Reuters) – England coach Sarina Wiegman said her team could be “very proud” of themselves having reached their first Women’s World Cup final, despite falling to a 1-0 defeat by Spain on Sunday.

Olga Carmona’s first-half strike was enough to clinch a maiden world title for the Spanish in just their third World Cup appearance.

European champions England went into the tournament missing key players through injury and struggled to convince at times, but found a way to overcome every challenge to reach the showpiece match for the first time.

Wiegman said it would take time for the players to realise the scale of their achievement.

“Of course, everyone was very disappointed that we didn’t win the game. On the other hand, I think we can we can be very proud of ourselves, although that doesn’t feel that way at this moment,” the 53-year-old told a press conference.

“That takes a little time, because now the disappointment is the most of what you feel.

“But everything we’ve done, how we have grown into the tournament, the challenges we had before the tournament, during the tournament, how we have adapted to situations.

“And we have given everything what we could in this tournament and also in this game … That’s what I said to them, we could still be proud.”

It is the second World Cup final defeat for Wiegman, who took her native Netherlands to the title match in 2019 where they lost 2-0 to the United States.

Already trailing to Carmona’s strike, England could have gone two down after the hour mark when Spain were given a penalty for a handball by Keira Walsh, though the decision looked harsh on the midfielder and Wiegman said it was “way too light”.

However, goalkeeper Mary Earps, who took the tournament’s Golden Glove award, saved the spot kick, a moment which the coach thought would give her team the momentum to get back into the game.

“It was a crucial moment that she stopped that penalty and I actually thought we have the momentum now, we’re going to get back and score a goal. I was really convinced about that,” she said.

“But she had two or three other very good saves in the game and I think the goalkeeper of Spain had some very good saves. It was a very open game.”

(Reporting by Christian Radnedge; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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