England manager Sarina Wiegman is certain Tuesday’s game against Luxembourg will be a celebration – and has stressed she expects a reckless performance from her side.
The game at Stoke’s packed bet365 stadium will be the Lionesses’ first on home soil since winning the Euros at Wembley in July.
That concludes the group stage of World Cup qualifiers three days later after securing a spot at the next summer tournament in Australia and New Zealand with a 2-0 away win against Austria.
England have scored 70 goals and conceded none in their nine Group D wins, including a 10-0 win over Luxembourg – who are ranked at No. 117 in the world – in the first leg last September.
When told Tuesday would feel like some sort of celebration, Wiegman said at a news conference, “I think so. It’s really exciting. The support from the fans was great at the Euros but they’re just getting better now.
“Tomorrow there will be 30,000 to watch us, so we really want to show our game again and have a little celebration.”
She then added of what England produced that night: “This side is so keen to do well. I’m expecting a very energetic team again, who really want to show and score a lot of goals and of course don’t concede any.
“Tomorrow we want to have possession as much as possible because their level makes a big difference compared to ours, so I think we should show that. And then of course we want to create a lot of chances and score a lot of goals. We want to win this game and get a good win.”
England celebrated their biggest competitive win when they beat Latvia 20-0 in Doncaster last November.
When asked if she would like to change something in the future so that there would be fewer meetings with teams like Luxembourg, Wiegman said: “We obviously talked about it (before) – I think we have to make changes when it’s better for development is the women’s game.
“I think sometimes a higher score is okay, but if it’s like that all the time you have to ask yourself – is that good for the team that loses so much and for the team that wins so much? And it’s not an exception, but more of a rule, and then you might want to make some changes in favor of the game in both countries.
“I think this discussion has been going on for a while, including UEFA and FIFA, so we’ll see where that takes us.”
Wiegman, whose entire 23-man squad attended training on Monday, said of her selection for Tuesday’s game “you could expect some changes”.
The manager was joined at the press conference by Keira Walsh, who won her 50th England cap in the game.
The Manchester City midfielder has been a star of England’s EURO campaign and she said: “I think the first thing I’ve found under Sarina is a bit of consistency. I think I probably struggled a bit with that before she walked in.
“I think she just gave me the confidence to play my game. I think it’s just a matter of continuing that consistency and form that I’ve found in the Euros. I think one of my personal goals is to take that further.”
Walsh, who has been linked with Barcelona, also declined to discuss club matters when asked about her future, saying: “My focus is on England at the moment.”