Sunday 04 July 2021, 15:20

Van Gaal crowns The Best Wiegman

  • Louis van Gaal presented Sarina Wiegman with The Best FIFA Women's Coach award

  • Vivianne Miedema was also presented with an honour

  • 1,000 fans see the duo surprised at end of training

"The best coach in the world: I've never even achieved that.” Those were the words of legendary Dutchman Louis van Gaal yesterday to a coaching counterpart who has equally etched her name into national folklore. In 2017, Sarina’s Wiegman’s Netherlands wowed home crowds with a scintillating Women’s Euro title triumph. Later that year, she was voted The Best FIFA Women’s Coach for the first time. She came runner-up for the same award in each of the next two years.

Wiegman then guided the Netherlands to silver at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ and through UEFA Women’s EURO qualifying with ten wins from ten games. Those achievements mean she won The Best FIFA Women’s Coach again. In just over a fortnight, the Oranje Vrouwen will attempt to earn another podium finish, this time at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament. A group featuring Brazil, China PR and Zambia is up first. Shortly after Toyko, Wiegman will then take up the England reins. Before the departure to Japan, the Dutch squad held a training camp in Zeist. Although a warm-up game against South Africa had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, 1,000 fans were invited to watch their heroines in a final session. At the end, Van Gaal strode on to the field, carrying two trophies, the other for striker Vivianne Miedema who was named in the FIFA FIFPRO Women’s World XI.

“That was really special,” Wiegman said after being presented with her trophy. “The actual award ceremony was last December, and it was [presented] online. I think it’s fantastic that Louis has come out here, also to present Vivianne with her award. “I said to him that it was 20 years ago that I played my 100th game for the Netherlands and he presented me with an award for that as well. He was coach of the men’s Dutch national team then, and now 20 years later he presents me with this great award, which is for the entire team of course – both players and staff.” For Miedema, after another season terrorising defences in England, more silverware is in sight. “Obviously, it’s quite special to pick up a prize like that,” she said. “But I hope that in a couple of weeks I’ll come home with an Olympic medal. That’s what it’s all about right now. “It’s going to be a really tough tournament. It’s going to be different from the World Cup or the EURO. We just need to be the best we can be, and hopefully it will be enough.”