2023 FINALISSIMA ENG v BRA PREVIEW: What did the coaches, the captains have to say ahead of the Wembley match-up?

On the eve of the first-ever women’s Finalissima which pits the 2022 Copa América Femenina champions Brazil (eight times winners of the continental crown) against UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 gold medalists England, we share some of the thoughts of coaches Sarina Wiegman and Pia Sundhage, skippers (and Arsenal team mates) Leah Williamson and Rafaelle Souza. Rosa Maitland reports from Wembley (& St. George’s Park)…

Sarina Wiegman on Millie Bright’s absence:
“Of course I want her to be available and she’s played so many games for us but also for Chelsea. And she’s not here. So we have our plan B ready for when she is not available. So we’ll see that tomorrow. She can’t play but that is another opportunity to see were her teammates are, when she’s not playing.” 

Leah Williamson on playing with Rafaelle Souza at Arsenal: 
“I think that she is a bit of a warrior. As an athlete, she’s head and shoulders above the rest. The Brazilian way, what she can do with her feet is pretty impressive. I’m in awe of her if I’m going to be honest, most days. So it’s, it’s new territory being on a different team tomorrow.” 

Leah Williamosn on playing Brazil:
“I think when you’re a player, and you play against a team like Brazil, you appreciate the individual skill and creativity, I think that’s hard to play against because you don’t know what’s coming. So along with the structure, and then you have that, that player as well. I think that’s as always something that players admire about each other.” 

Rafaelle Souza on playing with Leah Williamson at Arsenal: 
“Leah is a great player. I’m really glad to play with her, I’m not glad to be playing against her. She, she’s so good. And I feel like she’s like half Brazilian, because she got the skills. She just needs to learn how to do the samba and she’ll be fine. But she’s really good. She’s a good player, she can play in the back, play in the middle. I feel like she’s such a good player. And she deserves to be here with this great team.” 

Rafaelle Souza on playing at a sold out Wembley: 

“I think there’s going to be a special night tomorrow because with all these people here in a nice stadium, I feel special to have the opportunity to play here tomorrow. I played in the Olympics 2016 with like 70,000 people and it was amazing. Tomorrow is going to be weird because it’s not just going to be Brazilians in the stands, it’s going to be a lot of English people, but I know I know the crowds are like the 12th player.” 

Pia Sundhage on her team selection (with a number of players unavailable due to injury):
“When it comes to choosing here, then we have the other goalkeepers. So we just have to go with that. That’s the reality in football. And we’ll be fine. And when it comes to this game, it’s the part of the journey to the World Cup. And I’m so appreciative and I’m really happy to play against one of the best teams in the world and the best coach in the world as well. So this is I’m grateful for the opportunity.” 

 Pia Sundhage on England: 
“Yeah, looking at England, I think they talked about organisation, and the speed of play. But we have talked about when the ball is flying in the box. So she [Rafelle Souza] needs to step up. Because I have seen some great goals [from England].” 


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