Sarina Wiegman explains key tactical decision that helped England to quarter-final win

Sarina Wiegman had to make at least one change from the side that started the last 16 tie with Nigeria - with Lauren James suspended - but England pulled through to reach the semi-final

Sarina Wiegman, Head Coach of England, speaks to the media in the post match press conference following the FIFA Women's World Cup

Sarina Wiegman has led her team to the last four of the World Cup

England are now just two wins away from making history again after beating Colombia in a tense World Cup quarter-final.

Alessia Russo’s second half strike was enough to complete a comeback after England fell behind to a stunning lob from Leicy Santos. Lauren Hemp had equalised before half-time as the Lionesses came from behind for the first time in the tournament.

With Lauren James ruled out through suspension, Sarina Wiegman could have reverted back to a 4-3-3 system but instead chose to bring in Ella Toone in the No.10 role and maintain the 3-4-1-2. This meant Russo and Hemp were retained upfront and both delivered with important goals.

And Wiegman believed her faith in retaining the system played in important role in how England repelled the Colombian attacks.

“We changed the formation before China,” said Wiegman. “And before [this] game we thought ‘ok, what will help us now the most?’ and so far we did the same things.

“Of course we hope we can be quick in a three build but if we have to defend, sometimes when we push back, then we go with a five.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 07: Sarina Wiegman, Manager of England, celebrates victory with the England players and staff following a penalty shoot out during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Round of 16 match between England and Nigeria at Brisbane Stadium on August 07, 2023 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Naomi Baker - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

“Today we saw that when Millie Bright was in the centre for the crosses and also at their set-plays she had a very important role to head the ball out of the box.”

Bright was partnered by the superb Alex Greenwood, who had an outstanding game in the back three alongside her. England also managed to avoid picking up a suspension for Hemp, Georgia Stanway and Lucy Bronze. The trio were all only one yellow card away from a one match ban going into the game.

And Wiegman praised their discipline after the win.

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“I think they did a tremendous job by being controlled,” she said. “You know, you have to be aggressive.

“You’re playing a football game, you have to play duels to win. In one moment you can pick up a yellow card. But yes they were controlled and they were aggressive but didn’t go over the edge.

“That’s well done. So I’m happy that they did that because we have the players available for the next match and they now have lost their cards.”