Sarina Wiegman wants England to reach ‘new standards’ in upcoming Euro 2025 qualifiers

  • England face Republic of Ireland and Sweden later this month
  • Mary Earps and Niamh Charles available for selection
  • Lauren James' injury 'progressing well'
Sarina Wiegman is with the team in the Netherlands for a training camp
Sarina Wiegman is with the team in the Netherlands for a training camp / George Wood/GettyImages

England are set to play their final two Euro 2025 qualifying fixtures this month, and boss Sarina Wiegman believes the team need to reach "new standards" to seal their spot in the tournament.

The squad are currently taking part in a training camp in the Netherlands, with a behind-closed-doors friendly taking place on Thursday against the Dutch. The Lionesses sit third in Group A3 with seven points, behind Sweden on goal difference, with France topping the table on nine points.

Despite an important victory over France last month, having lost to the group leaders just three days prior, the remaining two fixtures are crucial in keeping their qualification hopes alive. However, finishing second place will still be enough for them to book their place in Switzerland next summer. 

Speaking to the media during the training camp, Wiegman said the team’s victory over France was "crucial and necessary" in lifting spirits, following a disappointing start to their qualification journey.

"It showed that we can play at the highest level and really well," she said. 

"I do see growth in the team. We haven’t seen each other in a little while, but now we are back together. We have shown that's our new standard and we need to push ourselves and improve all the time against different opponents. We are in a good position, and it is in our own hands to qualify with some little tweaks in the game plan."

Lauren James
Lauren James has been ruled out the remaining qualifiers through injury / Julian Finney/GettyImages

Who’s missing from the squad? 

Lauren James has been ruled out of the final two qualifiers through a toe injury, but Wiegman revealed she is "progressing well but it was too early to bring her out to training".

She explained: "While things are moving in the right direction, we don't want to take a risk over health which means [James] will be out for a longer period of time."

However, the Lionesses boss has confirmed that both Mary Earps and Niamh Charles will be available for selection for the games against Sweden and the Republic of Ireland, after flying out to the Netherlands with the intention to continue their rehab.

"Everyone who is here is fit or in rehab and building towards minutes," said Wiegman. "We expect that everyone in camp right now would be available, but that's today, and with sport, things can change."

Georgia Stanway is due to link up with the Lionesses on Monday after already undergoing pre-season training with Bayern Munich. The same can be said for Orlando Pride goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse, who received her first senior call-up last week. 

Wiegman said talks with the relevant clubs were necessary at the start of the year to discuss training availability ahead of the upcoming fixtures.

However, she did claim that the addition of an international fixture window in the summer has felt "strange".

"We are preparing for two games and there's been no football," she said. "We've spoken about this a lot, but we are now in the situation, and we have professional footballers who want to perform at the highest levels and all our attention has to go on that."

The Lionesses take on the Republic of Ireland on July 12 at Carrow Road, followed by an away trip to Sweden on July 16.

The Republic of Ireland cannot qualify automatically after losing all four of their group matches, but will be given one last chance when they enter the play-offs. The play-off draw has been scheduled for July 19, with the first of two legs taking place from October 23-29, and the second between November 27 and December 3.

The tournament will be played in Switzerland from July 2 to 27, 2025.