Dutch coach Wiegman hopes to topple Ellis and US
For just the second time in the history of the women’s World Cup, there will be female coaches on both benches for the final as Sarina Wiegman’s Netherlands takes on holder the United States, coached by Jill Ellis, on July 7.
Only nine of the 24 teams present at this year’s tournament were coached by women, but the work done by Wiegman and Ellis has ensured the first final without a man on either bench since 2003.
Ellis, 52, led the U.S. to glory in Canada four years ago and can become the first coach to win back-to-back World Cups in the men’s or women’s game since Vittorio Pozzo with Italy in the 1930s.
Wiegman, meanwhile, is hoping the Netherlands can add the World Cup to the European Championship it won as host in 2017.
That would be a remarkable achievement for someone who, like Ellis, has a schooling in football in the U.S. to thank for her career trajectory.
Seen as having an uncompromising management style, there can be no arguing with Ellis’s results, with the U.S. winning the 2015 World Cup and now becoming the first team to reach three consecutive finals.
Ellis had various roles in the national team set-up before becoming coach in 2014 and seizing the chance to deliver glory to the country that provided her with an opportunity in the game.
Her team is the overwhelming favorite to retain its title, but standing in her way is another woman who learned much in women’s college football in the late 1980s.
It is three decades since Wiegman jumped at the chance given to her by Anson Dorrance to go and play at the University of North Carolina.
“The year I spent there changed my life,” she said in an interview with The Coaches’ Voice website.
Before that, as a girl, she has said that she had to cut her hair short to blend in playing with boys in The Hague.