Thursday 19 December 2019, 12:51

Ellis and Wiegman re-live the France 2019 Final

  • Jill Ellis and Sarina Wiegman analyse Women’s World Cup Final together

  • Pair give insight into the set-up of the sides, and figuring our their opponent

  • "We had massive respect for their ability"

Jill Ellis and Sarina Wiegman will undoubtedly look back on 2019 as a landmark year. Ellis led her US Women’s National Team side to a second successive FIFA Women’s World Cup™ trophy in France, before departing her role as the only coach to have won the biggest title in the women’s game twice, having been named The Best FIFA Women’s Coach to boot.

Wiegman guided Oranjevrouwen to a historic maiden Women’s World Cup Final, in just their second appearance on the global stage. Despite ultimately coming up short in ‘La Grande Finale’ to the USWNT, Wiegman’s side displayed an exciting brand of football that saw them through to the ultimate game and pushed the reigning champions all the way.

We brought the pair together for a unique insight into the main event of 2019: the Women’s World Cup Final.

Sarina Wiegman, Head Coach of the Netherlands shakes hands with Jill Ellis

The biggest moment of the Final

Jill Ellis: Rose Lavelle’s goal was the standout moment for me. At that point I felt that the game was more in our control. When it’s 1-0, it’s still touch and go. I think Rose’s goal, coming inside, was a great individual effort. We picked off the ball, with Sammy Mewis, then into Rose Lavelle and it was a very good finish.

Sarina Wiegman: The penalty hit us really hard, I saw a change in my team. That also showed that we put so much effort into the tournament and it took so much energy from us. We had been really resilient but at 1-0 for the US, I thought: ‘OK, now we’re going to have a really hard time.’

The tactical tweaks

Jill Ellis: We knew we had to play well against the Dutch. You focus on one game at a time but as you start to watch film on your opponent, the more we started to break down the Netherlands. We had massive respect for their ability to move the ball and the big shape they would get into. We knew [Vivianne] Miedema was going to be a very influential player for them and probably the adjustment we made early in the game was asking [Julie] Ertz to sit a little bit lower to help stay closer to Miedema so that they couldn’t find her in transition as much. [Miedema] was finding the ball in the space [between midfield and attack] and we just asked Ertz to sit a little bit lower to try and negate passes in to her.

Sarina Wiegman: Because of their three up front, who were very fast and very confident with the ball, we brought [Dominique] Bloodworth to the left side because of her defensive qualities. Also, we brought [Lineth] Beerensteyn into centre-forward and Miedema dropped back and [Danielle] van de Donk went to the right side. We changed that because we thought that with [Crystal] Dunn on the left side, she’s really fast and with speed on speed, we didn’t think we were going to make that so we wanted to have Van de Donk there.

Although they have a very good defence, we thought that with Lineth Beerensteyn, with her speed behind the defence, we could do harm to them. In our analysis, Ertz was in midfield but as a controlling player – she didn’t run deep all the time – so we thought that having Miedema deeper would work out OK, because she’s very good in possession and with her positioning.

Julie Ertz of the USA passes the ball under pressure from Vivianne Miedema of the Netherlands

Jill Ellis: We had planned for Miedema to be playing central, high up on the line and we knew that there wasn’t going to be a whole lot of vertical threat because she’s more comfortable coming back for the ball. We noticed [with Beerensteyn in the centre-forward role] there was going to be more pace centrally. We asked Ertz to sit lower because we had so much respect for Miedema and her ability to play-make.

We knew their midfield was the heart, we asked Alex [Morgan] to sit a little bit lower too, to force them a bit wider and negate [Sherida] Spitse’s range of passing.

Overall, we thought they’d have a lot of the ball, so we wanted to generate pressure, force turnovers or hurried decisions for them and then try to pick it off in transition – where we felt we could hurt them. Our 1v1 artists, caused them some problems. And then Lavelle and Mewis, they’re both players that like to attack and like to get forward so it was just almost trying to overload and overwhelm them in our pressing game and in our transition game as well.

For further insight and analysis, watch the full video.