England head coach Serena Wigman has assured that her players will not rest on their laurels as they aim to make a shaky start to their World Cup qualifiers.
When Phil Neville resigned as head coach in January, the Lions lost seven of their last 11 games and then lost twice in three games under interim boss Hege Rice.
Wigman, who led the Netherlands to Euro 2017 glory at home and the 2019 World Cup final in France, later took over as head coach in September.
England’s 32 goals in Group D of the World Cup qualifiers, beating Northern Macedonia 8-0, Luxembourg 10-0, Northern Ireland 4-0 and Latvia 10-0.
Their 2021 matches will end in Sunderland against Austria on Saturday and against Latvia in Doncaster on Tuesday, with Weigman expecting a similar performance at the Stadium of Light.
“I have full confidence that we (our level) will not go down,” Wigman said. “We will try to improve our style of play again. Make sure we are prepared for Austria, how they play, what we want to do, how we can take our game to the next level. We hope it brings us another victory and some goals.
“They have a very experienced team. They have grown up, they have a very clear playing style and are well organized. I expect the game to be tougher than we have ever played. “
Wigman, who finished second in Group D behind England after three wins and a 2-2 draw at Northern Ireland last time out, added: “They played against Northern Ireland.
“They have good players, and many of them play in Germany, so we’re hoping for a good competitive game, and I think – and hopefully – we’ll have more than them.”
Manchester City forward Ellen White is set to win her 100th England cap against Austria and needs two more goals to tie the nation’s all – time top scorer Kelly Smith (46).
“We want to do well and Ellen is focused on the game,” Wigman added.
“It will be special and I hope she does well for herself and for us as a team. I hope we score a lot of goals again, no matter who scored the goals.
“She’s very close to that record, so it’s very good for her personally (doing this on Saturday) for us as a team, because it means we score a lot of goals.
“She had an incredible run before, and it was pretty impressive when you hit 100 caps. “
Injured Leah Williamson will be replaced by Chelsea defender Millie Bright, who has led the team in the absence of Steve Houghton, who has captained each of their last four Group D matches.
“This is a great moment,” said Bright, who is also Latvia’s captain on Tuesday at the Keepmot Stadium, where he played for Doncaster Bellas.
“Serena’s confidence to call me the captain of this camp is amazing and it is a proud moment for me to do so wherever I come from and in places like football. “
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