The Best FIFA Football Awards™

The Best FIFA Football Awards™

Monday 23 September 2019, Milan

The Best FIFA Football Awards™

Van de Donk: Wiegman’s five key attributes

Netherlands' midfielder Danielle van de Donk (L) and Netherlands' coach Sarina Wiegman (R).
  • Sarina Wiegman one of three nominees for The Best FIFA Women's Coach award
  • Danielle van de Donk a star player in Wiegman’s EURO-winning Dutch side
  • The Arsenal midfielder explains which qualities make her coach a worthy winner

“I think she definitely deserves to win this award. She’s an amazing coach.”

It is no surprise to hear Danielle van de Donk deliver this verdict on Sarina Wiegman. The pair were, after all, UEFA Women’s EURO winners together, with playmaker Van de Donk a key figure in Wiegman’s hugely impressive Netherlands side.

Given that it was only the team’s third EURO and fourth major tournament, emerging with the title was a remarkable achievement. The Dutch secured the trophy in some style too, winning every one of their matches and scoring 13 times as they swept past the likes of Norway, Sweden, England and Denmark.

But while Wiegman was the mastermind behind their success and undoubtedly a worthy nominee for The Best FIFA Women's Coach 2017 award, we wanted to know more about what exactly makes her “amazing”. Van de Donk kindly obliged, giving * *the lowdown on five key ingredients in her coach's recipe for success.

*1: Attention to detail *"She organised every little detail for us and that’s definitely one of her big strengths. Her preparation for every match was just amazing. Whoever we played, she went into every aspect and it really helped us a lot. It was clear to the players that she knew everything about the teams we were playing and about how to best use our strengths against them. She also knows our team inside-out. She was an amazing football player herself (winning over 100 caps for the Netherlands) and had a lot of good experience as a club manager before becoming national coach. She came into the job with a great knowledge of all the Dutch players and that showed straight away."

*2: Coolness under pressure *"She brought a lot of calm to the team during the EURO. She never got stressed; she’s just a naturally chilled person, I think. That really helped the players relax and enjoy the tournament."

*3: Selecting the right team and tactics *"She was flexible when she needed to be but we had a pretty settled team, and I think it helped that she didn’t change too much. The pressing plan we had was established and we knew the way we wanted to play in every match. She made sure she got the right players out on the pitch and also had the whole squad believing in what we were doing and ready to make a contribution. Somehow, she seemed to get everything right."

*4: Creating the right atmosphere *"She created a winning environment but without putting a lot of pressure on us. Beforehand, she didn’t talk about winning the tournament. It was all about getting through the group phase, taking things game by game. But by the time we did that, without her saying anything, the belief was there. We just thought, ‘Yeah, we’re going to beat everyone.'" 

*5: Management of individuals *"She’s a very normal person and I mean that in a good way. She’s very easy to talk to and she would have a laugh with the players. She’s an easygoing person and also very caring in the way she deals with everyone. She wanted everyone to feel happy and comfortable on and off the pitch and it created a really good feeling in the squad."

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