Steely Sarina Wiegman calmly leads England Lionesses to Euro 2022 glory


If imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery, then Sarina Wiegman’s costume says it all.

The England head coach won a second consecutive Women’s Euro trophy on Sunday, having guided his native Netherlands to glory in 2017.

Britain exponentially took notice of the steely blue-eyed woman who guided the Lionesses to glory, even surpassing some members of her own squad to become one of the tournament’s most recognizable faces.

That fashion editors told admirers where to get his pitchside uniform, a dark £45 M&S blazer with matching trousers, paired with a white shirt and Nike trainers, says a lot about how quickly the The 52-year-old’s stock has risen since she took the reins last September.


Sales of Wiegman’s signature MandS blazer have skyrocketed over the past week (Danny Lawson/PA)


Sales of Wiegman’s signature MandS blazer have skyrocketed over the past week (Danny Lawson/PA)

The no-frills look, which has seen sales of his signature blazer increase by 140% since last week, very much reflects the modus operandi of its wearer, who has kept the same starting XI throughout the tournament.

“She looks calm, she looks cool, I’ve heard players say how honest she is with them,” said former Lion Kelly Smith, who won 117 caps for England , to the PA news agency.

“There is no BS, which some managers can give you. She’s just, ‘this is what you have to do. If you don’t then potentially you won’t play, I have to see that from you.” It’s very relevant, and I think players have never had that before.

“And they like it, that it’s kind of basic, but they accept it. They just seem so unified and united.

The “Sarina suit” wasn’t the first major style choice the former PE teacher made during her remarkable career, breaking records and shattering the glass ceiling.

Before the trophies, accolades and this weekend’s trip to the ‘homeland of football’, there was ‘The Haircut’.

There were no women’s teams available when Wiegman started playing in her hometown of The Hague, but mixed teams were banned. Determined, the future winner of FIFA’s Best Female Coach award — the only woman to hold the title twice — cut her hair to blend in better with her twin brother and the boys.

“Sometimes when people saw I was a girl they caused trouble,” she wrote in The Coaches’ Voice.

“Other times we had great reactions. But most of the time it was difficult to play.

Wiegman’s breakthrough came at 16, when she was first selected for the Dutch national team and traveled to China to compete in a proof of concept tournament for a future Women’s World Cup. .

There she met United States women’s national team coach Anson Dorrance, who also led the women’s roster at the University of North Carolina. It didn’t take much to convince Wiegman, then frustrated with the Netherlands’ commitment to women’s football, to take her next steps in the United States.

She wrote: “In the Netherlands it felt like we were always fighting for our place. As if we were not accepted. I wanted more and I knew that in the United States things were better.

Unfamiliarity gave way to comfort, then to confidence, as Wiegman realized there were others like her, pushing for more and better in the game she loved. This instilled a sense of cruelty – a descriptor that has followed Wiegman to this day – in the young footballer.

She would become the first centurion for the Dutch women’s team, winning 104 caps alongside two national titles with Ter Leede before retiring in 2003, when she began balancing teaching physical education with coaching .

The mother-of-two was recruited by ADO Den Haag in 2007 to lead their newly formed Eredivisie Vrouwen team, a job she insisted she would only take if done full-time. Seven years later, she was back in the national team setup, this time as an assistant to head coach Roger Reijners.

She also worked as a trainee coach with Sparta Rotterdam’s men’s team during their Pro license course, making Wiegman the first woman to coach with a Dutch men’s professional club.

Wiegman was handed the Netherlands’ top job in 2017, just six months before she was to guide the hosts to home Euro victory – the sea of ​​orange-clad supporters, who made their presence here known this summer, which speaks to how far the game had come and their role in it.


Sarina Wiegman, branded jacket under her arm, ahead of the Euro 2022 final (Joe Giddens/PA)

Sarina Wiegman, branded jacket under her arm, ahead of the Euro 2022 final (Joe Giddens/PA)


Sarina Wiegman, branded jacket under her arm, ahead of the Euro 2022 final (Joe Giddens/PA)

Some might suggest that Wiegman seems stern and reserved. She was, after all, the person who named Leah Williamson captain without sentimentality while the status of longtime injured skipper Steph Houghton was still unknown, giving England some vital consistency in their preparations for the tournament.

But behind the crisp shirt is someone with a wry smile and an understated sense of humor, a woman who recently burst out laughing when asked if she was a “serial winner” and seemed increasingly exuberant and generous with hugs after each final whistle. .

The jacket was off and the shirt sleeves rolled up for Sunday’s final at scorching Wembley, but the professional approach remained – with a traditional Wiegman result.


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