Sarina Wiegman believes England's 2-1 win over France on Tuesday was the boost they needed to keep their Euro 2025 qualification hopes alive.

The Lionesses lost 2-1 to the same opponents at St. James' Park on Friday, with the manager left rueing lapses in concentration over the set-pieces that led to France’s goals.

In the reverse fixture in Saint-Etienne, England dominated the first half, as goals from Georgia Stanway and Alessia Russo put them in control.

Leah Williamson conceded a penalty, which was coolly converted by Kadidiatou Diani in the second half, but England held on to see out a vital win and move just two points behind Les Bleues in Group A3.

Wiegman praised her side's response to Friday's defeat but remained coy about their chances ahead of their next qualifiers in July.

"A team effort," Wiegman told ITV Sport. "You know the second half is going to be different, and they are going to push, but we worked so hard to stay together and keep the win.

"You know they are going to press. They were really chasing us. We have to make better decisions, be a bit calmer. We played into their hands a bit. We know when they win the ball there, they have players that are so quick. We want to take those moments out, of course.

"Of course [the win] gives a boost. We want to win, and we are in a better position now. The group is totally open. We said from the beginning this is a really tough group with top level teams. It helps when you win, but most of all, we did better than Friday."

Russo was one of the standout players for England during the victory, and she echoed Wiegman's sentiments.

"I think we got our standards back to where we wanted them," Russo said. "There are still parts we will work on for sure. We know the level is higher than ever and to even qualify for the Euros is going to be harder than ever.

"I just tried to do what I could. France are a top side with some of the best centre-backs in the world. It was nice to get on the scoresheet, but we created a lot of better chances tonight.

"We know our standards have to be higher. We probably let them slip a bit recently. We know the talent we have. We know the potential we have, and we saw a lot more flashes of it tonight."

Millie Bright has been recalled to the England squad for the Lionesses' upcoming Euro 2025 qualifiers against France, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland.

Bright, who led her country to last year's World Cup final, is named in the 24-player party for the first time since October, having missed most of the season with a knee injury. 

The Chelsea defender is joined in Sarina Wiegman's squad by teammate Aggie Beever-Jones, who will hope to win her first cap after an impressive Women's Super League campaign in which she has scored 11 goals in 15 games.

The reigning European champions, who are second in their qualifying group and two points behind leaders France, play back-to-back games against the French on May 31 and June 4. They will then host the Irish on July 12, before heading to Sweden four days later. 

"After an intense season, we wanted to give the players clarity and help them to prepare in the best possible way, with the balance of performance and welfare as a priority," Wiegman said.

"We have had good conversations with the clubs, and we are grateful for their co-operation and support in helping the players to be fresh, fit and ready for two international matches at the highest level.

"The group is finely balanced and we know that every game is going to be tight, and we’ll need to be at our best."

Switzerland will host the UEFA Women's European Championship in 2025, UEFA has announced.

The sixteen-team tournament will take place across eight venues in Switzerland, with the UEFA Executive Committee meeting in Lisbon on Tuesday to decide the venue.

The Swiss proposal eventually overcame a Nordic bid from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden after three rounds of voting, with Poland and France's joint venture eliminated earlier in the proceedings.

As host nation, Switzerland have secured automatic qualification and will compete at their third consecutive tournament, having made their first appearance in 2017.

The tournament will be the first international competition to be held in Switzerland, home nation to both FIFA and UEFA, since the Euro 2008 men's tournament when they were co-hosts with Austria.

Switzerland also previously hosted the World Cup in 1954, where they reached the quarter-finals.

The 2025 tournament will be the third since the competition was expanded to 16 teams, with England entering as defending champions.

Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema have been shortlisted for the FIFA Best Men's Player Award.

Messi led Argentina to glory at last year's World Cup, scoring seven times, including twice in the final, and laying on three assists.

That ended a 36-year wait for a third world title for Argentina, while for many his performances in Qatar cemented Messi as the greatest of all time.

Argentina overcame France on penalties in the showdown at Lusail Stadium on December 18, though it was not for the want of trying from Mbappe, who scored a hat-trick in a thrilling 3-3 draw, and like his Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Messi also converted his spot-kick in the shoot-out.

Mbappe won the competition's Golden Boot award after netting eight goals, while he set up another two.

Between August 8, 2021 and December 18, 2022 – the time period on which this year's FIFA Best awards are based – Mbappe scored 58 goals for PSG, the highest figure of any player across Europe's top five leagues.

Third on that list is Real Madrid striker Benzema, who won last year's Ballon d'Or and makes up the final shortlist. He netted 50 times for Los Blancos, helping them win LaLiga and the Champions League, though he suffered an injury on the eve of the World Cup and had to withdraw from France's squad.

FIFA also confirmed the nominations for the Puskas Award for best goal.

Richarlison's stunning effort in Brazil's World Cup opener against Serbia has made the cut, as has an audacious half-volley from Dimitri Payet in Marseille's Europa Conference League clash with PAOK last April.

Marcin Oleksy, meanwhile, scored a sublime overhead kick for Warta Poznan amputee football against Stal Rzeszow, and the Pole joins Richarlison and Payet on the final shortlist.

The Best Women's Player Award will also be handed out at the FIFA ceremony on February 27.

Beth Mead was crucial in England's success at the Women's Euros last year, winning the Golden Boot and being named as Player of the Tournament.

Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas missed the tournament through injury but the Barcelona star makes the list, along with Alex Morgan.

Argentina's World Cup-winning boss Lionel Scaloni and Real Madrid's Carlo Ancelotti are among the finalists for The Best FIFA Men's Coach Award 2022.

The duo are listed alongside perennial candidate Pep Guardiola of Manchester City in the final three, with the latter named as a finalist for the third time.

Scaloni, who finished fourth last year, took La Albiceleste to victory at Qatar 2022 and is recognised for his efforts in helping to seal a first World Cup triumph since 1986.

Ancelotti is feted for his work with Madrid, after winning a continental double and becoming the first manager to win all five major European league titles.

Guardiola guided City to another Premier League triumph, though he fell short in the Champions League once again and saw his team's main rival Liverpool nab the FA Cup and EFL Cup.

The Spaniard will be looking to go one better than his previous two appearances as a finalist in the voting, having finished second in 2019 and third in 2021.

Among those included in the final three for The Best FIFA Women's Coach Award, England boss Sarina Wiegman picks up a sixth consecutive nod in the category.

The Lionesses manager, a two-time winner of the prize, led the team to a maiden major honour triumph at Euro 2022, securing victory against Germany on home soil.

She is joined by Brazil boss Pia Sundhage – the Swede having claimed Copa America Femenina glory – and Lyon's Sonia Bompastor, who won the treble with the French side.

The winners of The Best FIFA Football Awards will be announced on February 27.

 

England's Euro 2022-winning forward Beth Mead has signed a new contract with Arsenal, the Gunners have confirmed.

Mead was named Player of the Tournament after top scoring with six goals as Sarina Wiegman's Lionesses won the Women's Euros on home soil earlier this year.

Mead is currently sidelined after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament in a Women's Super League defeat to Manchester United last month and will spend an "extended period" out of action.

Having put pen to paper on her new deal – the length of which was not disclosed, Mead targeted a successful return in the coming months.

"I'm so happy to have signed a new deal with Arsenal," she told the club's website. "This club is home for me.

"I've grown so much here as a player and a person and I know we can achieve so much more together in the years to come. 

"I want to compete to win the biggest trophies in the game and I know that the ambitions at Arsenal match my own, so I can't wait to get back onto the pitch and help to deliver the success our supporters deserve."

Mead recorded 33 goal involvements (14 goals, 19 assists) in 40 appearances for Arsenal last season and was named England Women's Player of the Year for the campaign.

Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall said: "It's wonderful news that we have agreed a new deal with Beth. She is a world-class footballer and has proven that on the biggest stage of them all. 

"I have so much admiration for the way she has handled success and adversity on and off the pitch over the past few years, and I'm sure she will approach the next few months with the positive attitude we all know Beth for."

England's Euro 2022-winning striker Ellen White has revealed she is expecting her first child.

White retired from football on a high note in August after featuring for the first England women's team to lift a major trophy during this year's home European Championships.

White scored 52 goals in 113 international caps, a record for a Lionesses player and a tally only bettered by Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane (both 53) across England's men's and women's teams.

On Wednesday, the former Manchester City striker posted an image of herself and husband Callum Convery on Twitter alongside the caption "Mum and Dad", revealing their child is due next April.

Jordan Henderson believes England's men should take inspiration from the Lionesses' Euro 2022 success as they chase Qatar World Cup glory.

Sarina Wiegman's side secured England's first major trophy since the men's World Cup in 1966 after a 2-1 extra-time victory over Germany in July.

Gareth Southgate's Three Lions reached the semi-finals at Russia 2018 before suffering penalty shoot-out heartbreak in the Euro 2020 final loss to Italy.

Henderson was named as part of England's 26-man squad who will look to go one step further in Qatar, and the midfielder referenced the success of Wiegman's women as an inspiration.

"The Lionesses have done a fantastic job and the whole country was behind them," Henderson told the BBC.

"Hopefully we can take inspiration from that and perform like they did. If we do that then I'm sure we'll have a good tournament."

The Liverpool captain is expected to play a back-up role in Southgate's midfield, with the likes of Jude Bellingham, Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice being probable contenders for the starting XI.

Henderson will provide much-needed experience, though, as a Premier League and Champions League winner with Liverpool.

England will need such know-how if they are to go deep in the Middle East, where they are the only European team to have reached at least the semi-finals in each of the last two major tournaments.

Southgate's side start their Group B campaign against Iran on Monday before clashes with the United States and Wales.

Four bids have been received to host the 2025 women's European Championship, UEFA confirmed on Thursday.

The tournament was held in England this year, with the hosts beating Germany in the final at Wembley to win their first major trophy.

Plans for the next edition are now well under way, with UEFA set to make a decision in January 2023 after receiving four proposals.

"UEFA today confirmed that it has received final bids to host the UEFA Women’s EURO 2025 final tournament from four bidders following the deadline of 12 October," the governing body said in a statement.

 "A final bid dossier was submitted by the football associations of France, Poland, Switzerland, and a joint bid from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

 "The UEFA Executive Committee will appoint the host association(s) of UEFA Women’s EURO 2025 in January 2023."

A bid involving Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden was confirmed on Wednesday, with Denmark having previously looked to host the tournament solely before electing to join forces with their neighbours.

France hosted the women's World Cup in 2019, while Portugal staged the 2004 men's European Championship and Switzerland were joint-hosts of the men's 2008 tournament along with Austria.

England manager Sarina Wiegman has carried off the UEFA Women's Coach of the Year award after leading the Lionesses to victory at the European Championship.

Wiegman steered England to what was only the nation's second-ever major international honour, the other being the men's victory in the 1966 World Cup final. It saw her win the Euros for the second tournament in a row – previously steering her native Netherlands to glory.

Fresh from naming her first England squad on Wednesday since the Euro 2022 victory, Wiegman was unable to attend the event where she pipped Germany manager Martina Voss-Tecklenburg and Lyon's Sonia Bompastor to the honour.

Barcelona captain Alexia Putellas took the UEFA Women's Player of the Year honour for the second season in a row – becoming the first to do so.

Putellas missed the European Championship due to a knee injury but played a key part in Barcelona's success in 2021-22, securing a domestic double and reaching the final of the Champions League.

The midfielder netted a league-high 18 goals and also finished as top scorer in Europe with 11 goals, though her team lost to Lyon in the final.

Germany's Euro 2022 star Alexandra Popp has committed her future to Wolfsburg, signing a new three-year contract with the Frauen Bundesliga champions.

The Germany striker found the net six times throughout the tournament as Die Nationalelf finished as runners-up to Sarina Wiegman's Lionesses, finishing as joint-top scorer with England's Beth Mead, though Mead won the award after recording more assists.

Popp, who has been with Wolfsburg since 2012, has lifted 18 domestic and three European titles during her career, but missed Germany's 2-1 Wembley final defeat last month after getting injured in the warm-up.

She became the first player to score in five consecutive games at a Women's Euros by helping herself to a brace in Germany's semi-final win over France, later being named in the team of the tournament.

Popp, who had just one year to run on her previous deal, told the club's website: "I'm very pleased to be held in such high esteem and I'm extremely happy at VfL Wolfsburg.

"When I look back on the last few years, it's clear I'm at the best club in Germany. I can also see the outstanding quality in our team. It's great fun for me to perform with these girls on and off the pitch and to fight for more silverware."

Wolfsburg finished four points clear of Bayern Munich to win the domestic title last season, and were beaten by eventual champions Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Women's Champions League.

Pep Guardiola heaped praise on England's "incredible" Lionesses as he suggested their Euro 2022 triumph has put more pressure on Gareth Southgate's team ahead of the World Cup in Qatar.

Sarina Wiegman's side ended 56 years of major tournament hurt for England with a 2-1 extra-time victory over Germany in last month's Wembley final, going one better than the Three Lions did in their Euro 2020 penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy on the same ground.

The Lionesses sparkled throughout the tournament on home soil, scoring a remarkable 22 goals in six matches on their way to the title.

According to Manchester City boss Guardiola, their achievements should serve not only as an inspiration to women across the country, but also as a marker for their male counterparts.

"England have to be so proud, first of all, for these incredible women," he told BBC Sport.

"I had the feeling every season, women's football, the sport of women, is rising and getting better.

 

"It's so nice for our daughters and for the next generations, what they have done. And thanks to all of you, because you pay more attention to what they do, and that's why they get a final in their home country, at Wembley.

"[It was] a special moment, and I think it will put pressure on the men for the World Cup, and that is good, this is good."

Guardiola's praise comes in the same week as the retirements of two Lionesses legends, with the team's record goalscorer Ellen White and second-most-capped player Jill Scott both hanging up their boots as European champions.

Southgate's side will begin their World Cup campaign against Iran on November 21 before rounding off Group B by facing the United States and Wales. 

Beth Mead, Lena Oberdorf and Alexia Putellas have been announced as the final three contenders in the running to win the 2022 UEFA Women's Player of the Year accolade.

The trio had been named on the initial shortlist of 22 players, which has now been whittled down to just three names ahead of next week's award ceremony in Istanbul.

Arsenal attacker Mead is rewarded for an impressive showing at the Women's Euros, where she was crowned Player of the Tournament after leading the scoring charts in England's triumph on home soil.

Oberdorf won the Young Player of the Tournament award after helping Germany to another final, having also played a crucial role in Wolfsburg winning the domestic double last season.

Spain star Putellas was absent from the tournament through injury, but the 2021 Ballon d'Or Feminin winner enjoyed the most prolific season of her club career thanks to 34 goals in Barcelona's clean sweep of Spanish trophies in 2021-22.

Wolfsburg and Germany striker Alex Popp narrowly missed out on the top three, while Aitana Bonmati of Barcelona and Spain finished fifth in the voting.

UEFA also announced the Women's Coach of the Year nominees on Wednesday, with England coach Sarina Wiegman joined by Sonia Bompastor and Martina Voss-Tecklenburg of Lyon and Germany respectively.

Women's club football in Europe is at "a critical juncture" but can soar to stunning new heights over the next decade, a new report from UEFA has disclosed.

Its commercial value can grow sixfold to €686million by 2033 and club sponsorship could swell to €295million by the same point, according to European football's governing body.

The developing professional leagues across Europe remain at an early stage of growth, emphasised by the fact spending on international player transfers topped €2m for the first time last year.

UEFA published its 'Business Case for Women’s Football' on Tuesday, with the women's game planning to capitalise on the success of international tournaments such as Euro 2022 by aiming to steer supporters and investors towards the clubs and leagues that in some cases are battling to survive.

The report said stakeholders have "an extraordinary opportunity to develop and professionalise women's football in Europe over the next decade by investing now" to unlock "enormous potential".

The report's findings would enable stakeholders "to make informed decisions and invest on the scale required", its authors said.

UEFA explained that previous data in this area, looking at the prospect for future growth, meant there was an "inconsistent and incomplete" picture of what the years to come might hold. It said its research and data investigations this time were "unprecedented" in their scale.

Former Germany striker Nadine Kessler, who is now UEFA's chief of women's football, hailed the game as being "on an incredibly exciting trajectory".

Kessler added: "The potential of the women's game is limitless and we believe we are on course to take women's football to heights that were unimaginable just a few years ago.

"As this report shows, now is the time to capitalise on the momentum we have created together, now is the time to get involved, now is the time to invest."

The research showed that a current fan base of 144million could reach 328million in 10 years' time. Followers were described as being broadly "diverse, progressive and young", with close to one in three fans of the women's game found to be new to football.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas pointed to the prospect of short-term losses for long-term gains.

Aulas, an early advocate of the women's game, said: "In the early years, there will be losses to reach a certain level and become successful. Over time, the investment will create excellent value for the club through new partners and a differentiated fan base."

That was reflected in the report stating the "majority" of leagues and teams are making a loss, relying on support from club owners or men's team budgets to remain sustainable.

Some 87 per cent of integrated clubs said involvement with women's clubs had brought about a reputational boost.

UEFA said its research showed 70 per cent of women's clubs and 50 per cent of leagues are aiming to be self-sustainable within the next decade.

England's triumph at Euro 2022 was "inspirational" and the tournament showcased the significant improvement of women's football, according to Finland great Laura Kalmari.

Sarina Wiegman's Lionesses ended 56 years of major tournament hurt for England with a 2-1 victory over Germany last month, with Chloe Kelly's close-range finish in extra time proving decisive in front of 87,192 people at Wembley Stadium, setting a new attendance record for any European Championship match (men or women).

England scored 22 goals throughout the tournament – also a record for a men's or women's European Championship – as they sparkled on home soil, while Wiegman became the first coach to lift the trophy with two different sides after triumphing with the Netherlands in 2017.  

Speaking exclusively to Stats Perform ahead of Wednesday's Super Cup between Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt in Helsinki, Kalmari lauded England's achievements. 

"It was a very big tournament, and it has been amazing. England did very well, they had the crown. Very inspirational to the young boys and women," Kalmari said.

"England were very good, and you can see the results they have done in the country. Many club teams are working for the players and that is the result, that you become a top country."

UEFA revealed after the final that a total of 574,875 fans attended matches throughout the tournament, smashing the previous record of 240,055 set at the 2017 finals.

The tournament has been praised as a potential landmark moment for the women's game, an assessment with which Kalmari agrees.

"It was just an amazing tournament," she added. "The level of the games has developed very much. You see all the countries getting better all the time.  

"We need to show it to more people and keep going with our hard work.

"Equal game means that everybody has the same opportunity, that we don't think it is a boys' or girls' game. Everyone has to have the same opportunity to be what they want to be."

Having made 130 appearances for Finland between 1996 and 2011, scoring 41 times, Kalmari is among the most decorated players in her country's history, but insists she is not envious of the those playing at a time of increased recognition for the women's game.

"[I'm] not jealous, I am so happy that it is going further. It takes time, but I know that it is very important to win a strong battle and now we are starting to see the results in so many countries," she added. 

"So many countries are working so hard for women's football and so many clubs, and you can see the results are there."

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