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‘It’s a shame’ – Why Wiegman is frustrated over Euros draw delay

Sarina Wiegman admits it’s “a shame” she still doesn’t know who England will be playing in qualifying for next year’s Euros.

The draw for the group stage takes place next Tuesday, just 30 days before the first round of fixtures.

Some nations around Europe have expressed their disappointment, especially as the group stage of the Nations League finished in December.

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Sky Sports reporter Anton Toloui and Kathryn Batte from The Daily Mail react after Sarina Wiegman’s England comfortably beat Italy 5-1 in their international friendly in Marbella

“Yeah, it would be really nice to know earlier but that is not the case,” Wiegman told Sky Sports when asked if she’s frustrated by the situation.

“That’s a disappointment, it’s a shame. All of the logistics and trying to sell tickets. Hopefully in the future we can do the draw a little earlier so we can be prepared and have the time to do so.

“Next week we know and we can prepare for our opponents.”

England have been playing to sold-out stadiums ever since winning the Euros in 2022 but after only giving fans three weeks’ notice for their games against Austria and Italy in southern Spain, attendances for both games were around 1,000.

It’s meant plans for April’s international break are yet to be finalised but Sky Sports understands the next match won’t be at one of the Premier League’s bigger grounds as The FA won’t have long to market the game.

UEFA insists they will work on establishing a longer timeframe between the draw and fixtures in the future but their hands were tied on this occasion as Nations League Finals play a part in the seeding.

“This week’s UEFA Women’s Nations League promotion and relegation matches have an impact on the league compositions and the European Qualifiers draw can therefore only take place once these matches have been played (within the given calendar constraints),” UEFA told Sky Sports in a statement.

“Going forward we will take all possible steps to further maximise the time between draws and matches to be played.”

Lauren Hemp was all-smiles after scoring twice against Italy.
Image: Lauren Hemp was all-smiles after scoring twice against Italy

The inaugural Nations League, which comes to an end when Spain take on France in the final, has been hailed as a success by players and coaches.

The hangover from the tournament, however, is a Euros Qualifying campaign that sees games taking place in June and July, weeks after most European domestic seasons finish.

England, Netherlands and other major nations, along with players’ unions, are continuing talks with UEFA and FIFA to try to ease the burden and have fewer footballing summers.

Sky News
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