Wiegman: England happy with ‘superpower’ tag

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SYDNEY — Sarina Wiegman said England are comfortable being the team to beat after Denmark manager Lars Sondergaard labelled them a “superpower” in the build up to Friday’s Women’s World Cup clash.

England are looking to make it two from two when they face Group D opponents Denmark in Sydney, and Wiegman has a fully fit squad to pick from as they look to secure their spot in the knockout rounds.

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In the build up to the match, Sondergaard called England a footballing “superpower” and labelled his own side “underdogs.” He also added it would be a “sin not to enjoy” the occasion.

When asked about Sondergaard’s comments, Wiegman told a news conference on Thursday: “Yes I agree with that, but of course he wants to put us in that position too. But we are always the team to beat. I have never experienced anything else — and I do think tomorrow we will have more possession of the ball, but let’s see how it goes.”

England head into the match looking for their first goal from open play since April. They managed to edge past Haiti 1-0 in their group opener on Saturday, but had to rely on a Georgia Stanway penalty to secure all three points.

Wiegman said postmatch she was looking for more “ruthlessness” from her team against Denmark and wants her team to go on the front foot on Friday.

“We talked about ruthlessness and we also said, what is ruthlessness?” Wiegman said. “So we talked about coming in the final third, having the connections right, having the crosses at the right time and being in front of the goal at the right time, things like that.

“We have worked on that again. We had a couple of days and today looked really good actually. So we are very looking forward to tomorrow.”

England goalkeeper Mary Earps was forced into making a key save late on against Haiti to ensure the victory.

Before the Haiti clash, Earps spoke in a prematch news conference about Nike’s “hurtful” call not to have her Lionesses’ goalkeeper kit available to purchase. On Thursday, Lucy Bronze echoed Earps’ displeasure and called for Nike to change their policy, adding the whole squad was behind her.

“It’s something that as a group we have spoken about and everybody’s fully in support of Mary and what she’s had to say. I think we’re all disappointed as a team, not just for our team and for Mary and for Hannah and for Ellie, but all the little girls and boys around the world who want to grow up and want to idolize these role models.

“It is disappointing and absolutely every single girl, every single England player is in support of Mary and the things that she’s had to say, and hopefully changes can be made in the future so things like this don’t happen anymore.”

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