England boss Sarina Wiegman insists she is fully focused on the Lionesses’ sold-out Wembley encounter with Brazil despite the World Cup beginning in just over 100 days.
Wiegman’s European champions will take on the Copa America Femenina winners for the chance to lift the inaugural Women’s Finalissima trophy on Thursday night before hosting Australia at Brentford’s Gtech Community Stadium next week.
England open their World Cup campaign against Haiti in Brisbane on July 22, with Wiegman admitting the two upcoming contests will give her side a chance to test their mettle against international sides.
“We are getting prepared for the World Cup. I think that is going to be an incredible tournament, more countries I think the level of the game has improved a lot, it’s very exciting at the moment to be part of the women’s game because it is growing so fast.
“So I’m really looking forward to it, but let’s first enjoy ourselves tomorrow.”
Captain Leah Williamson agreed with Wiegman, who is still determining precisely how her England side will look Down Under.
The Lionesses will be without defender Millie Bright, who withdrew from the April squad due to injury making way for Lotte Wubben-Moy’s return, while goalkeeper Sandy MacIver was also forced to withdraw.
Wiegman admitted that while she had not completely finalised her line-up, the look and feel of Thursday’s side might be a little closer to what fans might expect to see in Australia.
She said: “We’ll experiment a little less because we have two games, we’re in a different stage, but we’re also looking at a period that the players have many games and the load on players is really high, so we also try to manage their load, too.
“So it’s a little bit of both, first playing the game tomorrow and of course we play to win, but you also play to develop too. And after that we will see how the team is and what we still want to see and how everyone comes out of the game.”
Brazil head coach Pia Sundhage – who will be without the talismanic Marta through injury – took a different approach, admitting she very much had the World Cup on her mind.
She said: “For us, we have a little bit of an inexperienced team. If you look at our squad, we’ve not got many players that have played in a World Cup, so this will be fantastic to see how they deal with big crowds and playing against a good team.
“That’s why I see every game as a teacher and we have a chance to learn something after the game tomorrow.”