Wiegman’s England to face Shiels’ Northern Ireland in Women’s 2022 Euros group stage

SARINA WIEGMAN believes the Lionesses should have no fear of battling Europe’s elite teams at the Women’s Euros in July next year.

England will be pitted against their World Cup qualifier rivals Northern Ireland, Austria and two-time Euro winners Norway in the tournament’s group stage.

England and Northern will play against each other in the 2022 Women's Euros group stages

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England and Northern will play against each other in the 2022 Women’s Euros group stagesCredit: Rex
Sarina Wiegman wants England to be at their 'highest level' by the start of the tournament

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Sarina Wiegman wants England to be at their ‘highest level’ by the start of the tournamentCredit: Getty

And the contest’s host nation will face 2017 semi-finalists Austria in their first Group A match at Old Trafford which is the competition’s opening game on July 6, 2022.

The England chief told reporters: “If you want to do really well in a tournament you shouldn’t be thinking about avoiding opponents.

“You should just go (for it) when every opponent comes

“We want to perform at the highest level we can and afterwards we can just see what the outcome is when it’s an equal game.

“Whatever comes our way we just have to be well prepared, make the best out of it and get our level at the highest it can that we can be and that’s just what we need to do and then we’ll see what the result.”

Kenny Shiels, whose Northern Ireland side reached the competition for the first time in their history, admitted the group games for his team will be ‘tough’


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His team were beaten 4-0 by the Lionesses in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Saturday and fell to two 6-0 losses to Norway in the Euros qualifying stages.

However, the team came close to defeating Austria in the second of the two World Cup qualifiers this month at the Seaview home of football side Crusaders.

A late goal Stefanie goal effort saw the game at Seaview finish 2-2 after Demi Vance’s long-range screamer gave Northern Ireland a 2-1 lead.   

And Shiels reckons there are harder groups in the Euros’ early stages with some dubbing Group B – which contains Germany, Spain, Denmark and Finland – as the contest’s group of death.

The Northern Ireland boss said: “England cheered when our name came out (of the bowl), that was brilliant. I can’t believe how karma would do this.

“We’ve played two of them in the last five days on the week of the draw. It’s ironic and we played Norway (twice in Euro 2022 qualifying).”

“There are harder groups, to be honest. I think Germany would be the team you want to avoid the most because it’s hard to do your homework on Germany.

Kenny Shiels says while Northern Ireland's group A opponents are tough there are harder groups in the Euros

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Kenny Shiels says while Northern Ireland’s group A opponents are tough there are harder groups in the Euros

“I think these three (England, Norway and Austria) will be really tough opponents, but we have to individualise them and look at Norway.

“Before Norway, we’ve got North Macedonia (in the World Cup qualifiers) and then we’ve got Austria and England in the World Cup (qualifiers).

“Those are important fixtures that are foremost in my head and then we start looking at Norway in July.”

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England Women’s boss Sarina Wiegman takes her first training session with the Lionesses

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