England need not mourn the end of a 30-match unbeaten run they had just discussed in the first place, boss Sarina Wiegman said.
The Lionesses lost 2-0 to Australia in a friendly at Brentford on Tuesday night, their first defeat since the Dutch took charge in September 2021.
Wiegman had wanted more matches against top competition ahead of this summer’s World Cup and world number 10 Australia achieved more than anyone thought they expected.
“I haven’t been focused [on the unbeaten streak] at all,” Wiegman said. “We just want to win every next game, and yes, you remind us [it] all the time, but we don’t talk about it in our field.
“We talk about the next game, and that we want to improve every game, trying to adapt to the opponent we’re facing and trying to bring our qualities onto the pitch.
“Yes, it would be really nice to have the 31st win, I would like that too, but sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.
“[The loss] not feeling well. I think it’s a great thing to learn against a very physical, well organised, aggressive and defending Australia.
“We really wanted to get behind the defense more, run behind and change the game, so we let them run a little more, but we weren’t that good and we made some mistakes.”
One of those mistakes gave the Matildas the lead in the 32nd minute.
Captain Leah Williamson tried to set up a routine defensive header, aimed at goalkeeper Mary Earps, but underplayed the ball and allowed Chelsea forward Sam Kerr to come in and score.
The England skipper was also involved in the Matildas’ second goal, a green-and-gold first for Charlotte Grant whose shot deflected off Williamson before going on.
The Lionesses will return to their clubs for their home games, while Wiegman will turn his attention to finalizing the squad that travels to Australia for the World Cup, with England opening their campaign against Haiti in Brisbane on 22 July.
They entered Tuesday night’s contest strongly after clinching the inaugural Women’s Final trophy at Wembley last Thursday, although that match was ultimately decided on penalties after the visitors found a last-gasp equaliser.
Win or lose, Wiegman said, matches against the best sides are key to exposing potential areas of vulnerability in England’s quest for a first world title.
She said: “I’m not worried. I don’t worry very easily. We know we have to be at the top level. Every game we get some caveats. I don’t think we’re losing momentum, it’s fueling, 100 days to go and everyone is really excited to go to Australia. It’s really a big learning for us.
Matildas boss Tony Gustavsson had chosen to rest Kerr, his best weapon, for Australia’s 1-0 defeat by Scotland on Friday but said his captain was determined to line up against England .
Kerr was happy for her team but acknowledged that only pride was at stake, with much more at stake when Australia welcome the world in July.
He said: “It’s obviously a great performance for us, we have a lot of players out but unfortunately beating England tonight won us nothing. If that were the case I wouldn’t be here, I’d be out partying.
“Obviously it’s nice to have such a good performance, we’ve had some ups and downs over the last couple of months, so finishing tonight before going home is nice.
“They’re a really good team, a lot of girls haven’t played in a big team like this and good players like these players, so it’s a good performance for us as a team, but some players have also played great individually.”