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Sarina Wiegman’s ‘fairy tale’: England coach reaches second World Cup final

England head coach Sarina Wiegman celebrates with defender Millie Bright after the Lionesses' 3-1 win over Australia in their World Cup semifinal. (Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images)

Sarina Wiegman continues to build her case as one of the best coaches in the history of women’s soccer.

On Wednesday, the 53-year-old Dutch native guided England to its first-ever World Cup final. It’s the second trip to the championship match for Wiegman, who led the Netherlands to the same spot in 2019, though the United States took home the title. Still, Wiegman’s second consecutive World Cup final appearance cements her place among some of the sport’s greatest coaches.

“Am I in a fairy tale?” Wiegman asked Wednesday.

She’s the first coach to take two separate nations to a Women’s World Cup final. This comes after she accomplished a similar feat in the Women’s Euros, guiding the Netherlands to the 2017 title and England to the 2022 title.

“I don’t know,” Wiegman said when asked how she keeps taking teams to new levels. “The chance as a coach or as a player that you make it to finals is really, really special. And we’ve made it to four already. I’d never take anything for granted but am I here in the middle of a fairy tale or something?”

Wiegman has led the Lionesses on an unprecedented run, and they took down the host team to do it, besting Australia 3-1 in Wednesday’s semifinal.

“It’s unbelievable,” Wiegman said. “It feels like we won it, but we didn’t win it, but we won this game. It’s an incredible stadium, an away game, the way we played of course it was a hard game but we found a way to win.

“You’ve been talking about ruthlessness all the time. I think in this team there’s ruthlessness, whether that’s up front or defense. We really want to keep the ball out of the net, we really want to win. We stick together and we stick to the plan and it worked again.”

And if you ask the her players, what Wiegman has instilled in them might just be enough to win it all.

“I’ve said it a million times and I’ll continue saying it, the mentality of this team is something I’ve never seen before,” Millie Bright told BBC Sport. “I think that comes from Sarina as well the belief she gives us. We can play many different ways, I think that’s the beauty of this squad. Whatever an opponent throws at us we adapt, we find a way to win and I’m just really proud of the girls.”