Sarina Wiegman praises England's team effort after crucial win over France

  • England secured a narrow 2-1 victory over France on Tuesday night
  • The win puts the Lionesses’ UEFA Women’s Euro 2025 qualifying campaign back on track
  • Sarina Wiegman says the performance was much better than the defeat to France on Friday
England manager Sarina Wiegman
England manager Sarina Wiegman / Dean Mouhtaropoulos/GettyImages

England boss Sarina Wiegman has praised her team’s collective effort to earn a crucial 2-1 victory over France on Tuesday night.

The Lionesses put Friday’s defeat to the same opponents firmly behind them as they scored twice in the first half in Saint-Etienne. Goals from Georgia Stanway and Alessia Russo set the team on their way to a much-needed victory.

Despite the threat of a late comeback from France, after Leah Williamson tripped Grace Geyoro in the box and Kadidiatou Diani calmly dispatched the resulting penalty kick, England dug deep to cling on to their slender lead.

The result doesn’t drastically alter the outlook of their UEFA Women’s Euro 2025 qualifying group; England still sit third behind Sweden on goal difference, but it does significantly boost their chances of automatic qualification for next summer’s tournament in Switzerland.

"The team effort," Wiegman told ITV post-match, speaking on what pleased her most about the performance. "Of course, you know the second half is going to be different because you’re 2-0 up and they are going to push. We worked so hard to stay together to get the win."

Sarina Wiegman, Leah Williamson
England manager Sarina Wiegman gives instructions during the win over France / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

Russo was among the standout performers on the night. Not only did her goal give the Lionesses a comfortable lead heading into the break, but her hold-up play, positioning and drive was one of the key driving forces behind what was one of the most complete first half performances under the current manager. 

"She’s working so hard on that, holding [the ball] up but also being in the right positions in the build-up and when we enter the final third," Wiegman added, when asked about Russo’s contributions. "You saw today and I thought on Friday she played a proper game, too. You see how important that is because the team can then move up [the pitch] too."

Although Friday’s result in Newcastle was a sucker-punch blow for Wiegman and her players, there were plenty of positives for the England manager to take. That was evident in her team selection on Tuesday as she stuck by the same players, with just one change as Hannah Hampton came in for the injured Mary Earps.

"On Friday I think we played parts of the game really well," Wiegman concluded. "But, in the final third and defending corners, we didn’t do well. 

"Today we conceded the first corner on 70 minutes, so that was already a lot better. First half I think was one of the best we’ve ever played. I think we created around six huge chances to score goals, so that was really good."