Sarina Wiegman says rotation is unlikely as England face British rivals Northern Ireland in the final Group A match at Euro 2022 on Friday, while Kenny Shiels wants his side leave the tournament on a ‘feel-good note’.

Wiegman’s team head into Friday night’s concluding Group A tie buoyed by an 8-0 demolition of Norway, which sealed top spot and a place in the knockout stages.

Euro debutants Northern Ireland, who cannot quality for the quarter-finals, have lost all eight of their previous meetings with the Lionesses, being outscored 44-2 in the process.

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Wiegman: Rotation unlikely

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England head coach Sarina Wiegman says she is not intending to make many changes to the squad for Friday’s game against Northern Ireland

There has been discussion ahead of Friday’s game at St Mary’s over whether Wiegman will take the chance to play some of the other players in her squad, with England’s path to the knockout rounds already secured.

When asked about the possibility at her press conference, she said: “I believe in rhythm – when you have nine days in between the Norway game and the quarter-finals, it’s too long.

“You need more rhythm. I don’t expect lots of rotation. During the game probably, but not before the start.

Sarina Wiegman on Demi Stokes and other team news

“She’s doing well, she’s building up to the next game. Everyone else is fit. We made a plan, for Demi, towards next Wednesday.

“She’s on course for that [the quarter-final. Tomorrow we’ll make the next step.”

“I understand [that players want to play]. We have 23 players and only 11 can start. We’ll do what we believe in, in terms of giving us the best chance to win the next game.

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  • Women’s Euros 2022 fixtures

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  • Listen and subscribe to the Sky Sports Women’s Euro podcast

“Of course, some players will be disappointed. But we keep communicating, we keep being clear on what we’re doing and why we do it. Sometimes you can be disappointed, that’s understandable. If you wouldn’t be eager to play, then the player wouldn’t be in the squad.

“It [players getting injured] is always the case, always things can happen at the level we play. We just want to play a good game.

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England and Arsenal footballer Jordan Nobbs believes the Lionesses are an inspiration to the nation

“If we are focused, concentrated, we will probably be a lot in possession and keep the ball going and be composed. That’s what we have to do and play the game.

“At this level, you always look for the edge and things can happen. We don’t hope that, but the priority is to keep rhythm, stay connected, communicate on and off the pitch, play a good game and then get ready for the next one.”

It will be the third time Wiegman has faced Northern Ireland in her short time with England, but she has been impressed by how they have acquitted themselves at Euro 2022.

England have beaten Northern Ireland twice in World Cup qualifiers

She added: “We’ve played them twice already last season. I think for them, it’s really good that they have had their first tournament. For the development of players, you need tournaments to become better and know what to expect next time.

“We can see they’re trying to develop their style of play and I’m absolutely sure they will try and have a competitive game tomorrow and make best out of it. That’s what we want to do too.

“I don’t know how many Northern Ireland people will be here. It will be full and what we want to do is play a good game, win, keep a clean sheet and that we give the people that are here a very nice evening.”

Shiels: We don’t want to leave anything behind

Northern Ireland manager Kenny Shiels wants his side to go out on a high

Kenny Shiels revealed the change in his Northern Ireland side since they face England in a friendly at St George’s Park in February 2021.

He said: “It’s important that we don’t get overawed. We took them on in a friendly at St George’s Park, and the [England] girls were signing autographs after the match.

“The girls were queued up outside changing room and shows you the esteem in which England are held, by our country as well and how good they are doesn’t help because we have to try look at, not just realistically, but we have to have a purpose and try to win.

“The girls did admit afterwards they were overawed by that occasion. But the friendly helped us to prepare for going to Ukraine.

Julie Nelson nodded in Northern Ireland's first goal at a major tournament

“It was such a tough game and we learnt so much about ourselves then, and we’re learning now, with the experience of losing both games [in World Cup qualifying] is good for the future in how we learn for the future and from our mistakes.

“With the stature of England, we’ve got to try and eliminate that from our thoughts and play the team rather than the occasion.

“It’s a big occasion for our girls to play in front of a full house like this. We want to do our best and if we can, we can’t have any complaints. We don’t want to leave anything behind.

“It will be culmination of our journey at the Euros, we will want to leave on a feel-good note and we will certainly be trying to do that.”

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Angela Platt, the IFA director of women’s football, says Northern Ireland’s opening game against Norway at the Women’s Euros is an historic moment and has helped change the landscape of the women’s game in the country

When asked if Northern Ireland wanted to bring England ‘back down to earth’ after their 8-0 win against Norway, captain Marissa Callaghan said: “Of course. We’ve played them twice previously and we gave a good account of ourselves.

“We were hard to beat and that was a massive thing for us. We stuck to our game plan and did it well. Their bench is just as good as their starting XI, so it will be very difficult. Hopefully we can go out and give it a good go, that’s the plan. We need to go out and give it our all.”

Shiels added: “All we want to do is look at ourselves and how we can have an impact. Our journey is about try to improve what we have, developing players.

“It’s important that everybody learns and gains that wisdom from being here. That’s our utmost preparation is to get some experience for the girls and to improve for next tournament.”

Analysis: White closes in on record

Ellen White is closing in on the all-time England scoring record for both men's and women's sides

Sky Sports’ Laura Hunter:

“It’s not my priority,” Ellen White replied when asked about the prospect of becoming England’s all-time leading goalscorer in the aftermath of Monday’s 8-0 victory over Norway – a scoreline which itself has been written into continental history books.

The striker moved within one goal of Wayne Rooney’s England goal tally, having netted an impressive double, but was unmoved by suggestions she will soon surpass the former Man United player’s total (53).

Sarina Wiegman on whether Ellen White should be compared to Wayne Rooney

“Everyone can have opinion. What she has done is amazing, it’s really good that the player she is, person she is, she has an important role. What she has accomplished on and off pitch is really great. She is valuable to this team.”

The reason is not because White does not care about goalscoring exploits in an England shirt, quite the opposite. She wants to play well for the collective good, more than chasing down individual plaudits – although, arguably, the two go hand in hand.

She’s unfazed by prospective record-breaking but rather wants to be the driving force behind the Lionesses’ collaborative interest in European silverware this summer. Naturally, she has a big part to play, not least because she is one of a handful of players in Sarina Wiegman’s squad with major tournament nous – she is now England Women’s 10th most capped player (109), eight behind the distinguished Kelly Smith.

Instead of pursuing individual glory, White’s priority is contributing to a unified team effort. She’s particularly modest when discussing her own achievements, which are rightly being likened to many former and current England greats, based solely on merit.

Akin to her unassuming demeanour off the pitch, her selfless conduct on it is benefitting Weigman’s side greatly. Her approach to the No 9 title role is somewhat similar to that of Harry Kane. Yes, she provides goals, but she also has a perceptive understanding of what the team needs in crucial moments. Every move is deliberate, like a chess grandmaster.

At 0-0 against Norway, having won a penalty with some clever trickery to draw a foul from defender Maria Thorisdottir, she handed the ball to Georgia Stanway to convert the spot-kick.

For England’s second, White’s movement and presence disturbed Maren Mjelde enough that she took her eye off Lauren Hemp, who stole in at the back post to turn the ball home from three yards.

Ellen White celebrates scoring England's sixth goal with teammate Beth Mead

The Man City forward then created and despatched England’s third herself, employing a dogged press to dispossess Thorisdottir before ruthlessly finding the bottom corner – the rest is history.

She celebrates every goal like it’s her first because, in her own words, she “loves playing for England”. It goes without saying that we are likely to see the 33-year-old’s trademark ‘goggles’ celebration on many more occasions before she calls time on her illustrious international career, but her overall devotion to team success should not be underestimated.

A consummate professional who deserves to be celebrated as an inclusive part of England’s hall of fame, alongside Rooney, Smith, Kane and many more.

Follow Euro 2022 across Sky Sports

Keep up with all the latest from Euro 2022 across Sky Sports and Sky Sports News this summer.

Coverage will be anchored by Sky Sports WSL presenter Caroline Barker, alongside Jessica Creighton and Kyle Walker. Meanwhile, Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Laura Bassett will give analysis throughout the tournament.

They will also be joined by experienced England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and Manchester City defender Esme Morgan.

The pundits and presenters will work from the Sky Sports Women’s Euro 2022 Mobile Presentation Bus, which will follow the Sky Sports News team around the country to the various stadiums where matches are being played.

In addition, Sky Sports’ Essential Football Podcast will be rebranded for the tournament to Sky Sports Women’s Euros Podcast from 21 June. Hosted by Charlotte Marsh and Anton Toloui, it will feature exclusive news and player interviews in addition to a strong programme line-up around the tournament.

Euro 2022: The groups…

Group A: England, Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland

Group B: Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland

Group C: Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland

Group D: France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland

Euro 2022: The schedule…

Group stage

Wednesday July 6

Group A: England 1-0 Austria

Thursday July 7

Group A: Norway 4-1 Northern Ireland

Friday July 8

Group B: Spain 4-1 Finland

Group B: Germany 4-0 Denmark

Saturday July 9

Group C: Portugal 2-2 Switzerland

Group C: Netherlands 1-1 Sweden

Sunday July 10

Group D: Belgium 1-1 Iceland

Group D: France 5-1 Italy

Monday July 11

Group A: Austria 2-0 Northern Ireland

Group A: England 8-0 Norway

Tuesday July 12

Group B: Denmark 1-0 Finland

Group B: Germany 2-0 Spain

Wednesday July 13

Group C: Sweden 2-1 Switzerland

Group C: Netherlands 3-2 Portugal

Thursday July 14

Group D: Italy 1-1 Iceland

Group D: France vs Belgium – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium

Friday July 15

Group A: Northern Ireland v England – kick-off 8pm, St Mary’s

Group A: Austria vs Norway – kick-off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium

Saturday July 16

Group B: Finland vs Germany – kick-off 8pm, Stadium MK

Group B: Denmark vs Spain – kick-off 8pm, London Community Stadium

Sunday July 17

Group C: Switzerland vs Netherlands – kick-off 5pm, Bramall Lane

Group C: Sweden vs Portugal – kick-off 5pm, Leigh Sports Village

Monday July 18

Group D: Iceland vs France – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium

Group D: Italy vs Belgium – kick-off 8pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium

Knockout phase


Wednesday July 20

Quarter-final 1: Winners Group A v Runners-up Group B – kick-off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium

Thursday July 21

Quarter-final 2: Winners Group B v Runners-up Group A – kick-off 8pm, London Community Stadium

Friday July 22

Quarter-final 3: Winners Group C v Runners-up Group D – kick-off 8pm, Leigh Sports Village

Quarter-final 4: Winners Group D v Runners-up Group C – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium


Tuesday July 26

Semi-final 1: Winners quarter-final 1 v Winners quarter-final 3 – kick-off 8pm, Bramall Lane

Wednesday July 27

Semi-final 2: Winners quarter-final 2 v Winners quarter-final 4 – kick-off 8pm, Stadium MK


Sunday July 31

Winners semi-final 1 v Winners semi-final 2 – kick-off 5pm, Wembley

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