There is only one night left before England take on Germany in the final of the Women’s European Championship.
And there could be no better person in charge of the Lionesses as they seek to lift their first major international trophy than Sarina Wiegman, according to former Dutch star Anouk Hoogendijk.
Hoogendijk, who has followed the tournament closely, has played 103 times for his country in addition to two spells at Ajax and a brief stint at Arsenal.
Fresh off a trip to the Lake District as part of her stay in the UK, Hoogendijk spoke to talkSPORT.com at the Heineken Greener Bar Women’s Euros 2022 event on Friday about her experience at the tournament so far.
The Dutch were eliminated by France in the quarter-finals and Hoogendijk is keeping an eye on compatriot Weigman.
The England boss retired from international football in 2001, but before hanging up his boots Hoogendijk spent time with her in the Netherlands.
“I played with her as a player when I was very young and she was one of the experienced players,” explained Hoogendijk.
“I used to train with her and the national team sometimes when I played for the under-17s or the under-19s and I was always a bit scared of her because she was one of the big names,” she laughs.
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“She was a great player, she was a midfielder and she was already a leader when she was a player and a real captain.
“I worked with her when she was an assistant coach, so her role was a bit smaller, but you could already see that she was technically strong.
“It was more individually, she told you what to do. She reads the game so well and I worked with her a bit when she was a manager, but you can see she’s made for this, she’s perfect.
Wiegman had some big decisions to make during the Euros, from coming on as a substitute against Spain in the quarter-finals to excluding former captain Steph Houghton from his squad altogether.
But Hoogendijk says Wiegman’s decision-making and transparency is what makes her such a good manager.
“The good thing about her is that she’s really honest and direct, very down to earth. Sometimes it’s not right what she tells you, and other players are better than you, but you know what to expect.
“There is no false hope, and that’s good in a team.
“For Steph Houghton, it wasn’t really nice to hear that. [she was dropped]but it’s good that Sarina told her everything early, because if she hadn’t chosen her right before the tournament, it would have been harder.
Hoogendijk will be watching her former team-mate’s bid to lead the Lionesses to the European Championship trophy – the second of his managerial career after winning it with the Netherlands in 2017.
And, while she believes the Germans will be a good test for England, Hoogendijk believes Wiegman can ultimately lead the Lionesses to victory.
“I think both teams are really strong in every line and well balanced, it’s going to be a great final,” she said.
“But I have great confidence in Sarina Wiegman. I think both teams are equal, maybe Germany are a bit stronger, but I think Sarina and Arjan Veurink’s game plan is the best , they are tactically so strong.
“That’s what I missed in the Dutch team, there was no plan at all.
“It will be a great game, but in the end I think England will win.”
England vs Germany is live on talkSPORT on Sunday July 31 at 5 p.m. Hosted by Adrian Durham, there is commentary from Sam Matterface and former England striker Lianne Sanderson.