Sarina Wiegman said if England won Euro 2022 on Sunday she might not realize the impact it could have until “probably 15 years later”.
The Lionesses will seek their first major trophy against Germany at Wembley Stadium, having suffered defeat in the Euro finals in 1984 and 2009.
Success “would make the difference”, added Wiegman, as women’s football continues to grow in England.
“I think we’ve already been an inspiration to the country,” she said.
Wiegman, who led the Netherlands to Euro glory in 2017, added: “You know when you win a major tournament it really makes a difference and that would make me very proud. But I don’t think further than that.
“Most of the time you don’t realize the impact until probably 15 years later.”
After losing on penalties to Sweden 38 years ago, England’s previous appearance in a Euro final was in 2009, when they were beaten 6-2 by Germany.
Before February’s Arnold Clark Cup victory, they hadn’t beaten Germany at home – so could a long in-game rivalry now swing in England’s favour?
“I don’t know what a perfect game is because the one in front of us we want to beat. We really want to win the final,” Wiegman said.
“We want so much to show again how good we are and play our best game. Hopefully it will bring us victory. We talk about their players but not the story.”
England’s performance so far has been impressive – they beat Norway 8-0, came from behind to beat pre-tournament favorites Spain in the quarter-finals, before beating four Sweden, ranked second in the world, in the semi-finals.
They celebrated a lot with the local crowd after each victory, dancing and singing along to the songs “Sweet Caroline” and “Freed from Desire”.
“I expected the crowd to be like that,” Wiegman added. “I knew that when we won and got to the knockout stages, people were really, really excited.
“It’s really great. But I also think the team played with so much energy. The team unity was contagious and that’s what people love.
“If you play in big stadiums and they’re full then it’s going to be really exciting. The stadiums here are so nice and beautiful – this is England.”
After leading the Netherlands to victory five years ago at home, she could become the first manager to win back-to-back Women’s Euros with two different nations.
“When I started my coaching career, I didn’t even know it was possible to be a full-time coach,” added Wiegman.
“I’m very aware of where we came from in women’s football and where we are now. I really appreciate it and feel very privileged to have been part of this journey of a young child so far. “
“I needed to have a strong personality”
The Dutchwoman was one of the driving forces behind England’s success at Euro 2022 but she had to struggle to play football as a young girl.
Wiegman said she was “strongly opinionated” as a child, which helped her stand up to those who said girls shouldn’t play the game.
She added: “I wasn’t really calm at school, I had very strong opinions. Later I was a bit more introverted.
“When I was young, football was not really accepted [for girls] Again. I’ve had people say to me so many times, “Girls shouldn’t do that, it’s not very nice.” I did not care.
“I think I needed to have a strong personality otherwise I would have given up.”
Wiegman is now known for her composure and composure. She meditates and does yoga almost every day.
“I just make sure to do all these things and stay calm,” she said. “We are so well prepared, so that also gives me calm. I know we did everything in our power.
“It might or might not bring us a win, but we know we did everything in our control and that’s okay.”
That calm in her personality came over time, and Wiegman said the main thing she learned from her coaching journey was who she is.
“It takes time,” she added. “You need confidence to make choices. I was a teacher in my first job before becoming a coach.
“When I started, there was so much in my path and I had to learn more about myself. You learn your strengths and your weaknesses.
“Over time, you gain so much experience that you trust yourself. You know you did the right thing, regardless of the response from the person in front of you.”
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