England celebrate success for Sarina Wiegman and Mary Earps at Best FIFA Awards
England’s Euro 2022 triumph was celebrated with success for Sarina Wiegman and Mary Earps at The Best FIFA Awards, but Beth Mead missed out on individual recognition.
Argentina star Lionel Messi took the men’s best player award at the ceremony held in Paris after lifting the World Cup for the first time in December.
Wiegman was named best women’s coach ahead of Lyon’s Sonia Bompastor and Pia Sundhage of Brazil after England swept all before them in the tournament they hosted last year.
And Earps, who started every game including the 2-1 victory over Germany in the final, took the best women’s goalkeeper award, pipping fellow nominees Ann-Katrin Berger of Germany and Chile’s Christiane Endler.
But Mead’s hopes of winning best player were dashed despite being the Euro 2022 player of the tournament and golden boot winner, instead seeing Spain’s Alexia Putellas come out on top. The 27-year-old Arsenal forward was included in the best women’s XI, however.
Wiegman took the opportunity to call for the women’s game to continue its rapid growth while remaining aware of the pitfalls.
“The Euros were incredible. The stadiums were full, Wembley was full and there were so many families in the stadiums and they were all celebrating football. As the English say, we brought it home,” Wiegman said.
“From when I could walk, I loved football and over the years I’ve seen how the women’s game has gown and developed.
“It’s incredible to be here right now and celebrate women’s football in the world. We have heroes in this room, little girls have their idols. They have inspirations.
“So many people across the world have worked so hard to get the game where it is right now. We would like to thank them for that because it’s fundamental for the women’s game.
“But with the growth of the game are also a couple of dangers. Because we want to go faster and go bigger, the players become better and the facilities become better, but the dangers we have to take care of too.
“Yes we want to develop, but we also have to do the right things. Everyone who is part of the women’s game has the responsibility for that.
“We are competing on the pitch, but off the pitch we should be a team and work all together to grow the game even more. I hope we will do that together.”
Earps reflected on a difficult period in her life after being acclaimed as the finest keeper in the women’s game.
“I just want to say thank you so much to my loved ones who have picked me up off the kitchen floor to be here, not specifically tonight (Monday) but a few years ago,” Earps said.
“For anyone who has been in a dark place, just know there is light at the end of the tunnel so keep going. You can achieve anything that you set your mind to.”