The First-Ever To Win The Best FIFA Award Three Times
England head coach Sarina Wiegman tonight has become the first coach of either sex to win the Best FIFA award three times, a record she previously shared with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, winner in consecutive years in 2019 and 2020.
After winning The Best FIFA Women’s Coach award as manager of the Netherlands in 2017 and 2020, the Dutchwoman took charge of England women’s national team in September 2021 and has so far won 25 games out of 29, earning her the UEFA Women’s Euro title defends She won with the Netherlands in 2017 with another national team, both firsts in football history.
Wiegman was ahead of Lyon’s Champions League-winning coach Sonia Bompastor, the first woman to lead a team to victory since 2009, and Copa América Femenina winner, Sweden’s Pia Sundhage, head coach of Brazil.
In fact, Wiegman is also the first person to win the Best Award in any category three times. Cristiano Ronaldo (2016 and 2017) and Robert Lewandowski (2020 and 2021) share the honor of having won The Best Men’s Player award twice, but as of tonight’s Wiegman no one had won the award in three different years.
Wiegman has also achieved the most top 3 finishes in The Best FIFA Awards. Since the awards were launched in 2016, Wiegman has finished in the top three for each of the last six years and has won three times, second in 2018 and 2019 and third in 2021. No other women’s coach has made the top three more than twice, with Zinedine Zidane and Pep Guardiola being the only men’s coaches to have made the bottom three three times.
In the other categories, only Lionel Messi, who was among the finalists for The Best – FIFA Player of the World in 2022 for the sixth time in seven years, has achieved as many top-three finishes, winning the award in 2019 and 2016, 2017 and ranked second in 2021 and third in 2020.
Unlike most other awards voted on by journalists, the FIFA Football Awards are decided by a combination of different stakeholders within football. The vote is split equally between the election of each national team head coach (25%), each national team captain (25%), a panel of media representatives (25%) and an online public vote (25%).
In less than eighteen months in charge of England, Wiegman has led the Lionesses to three trophies and won the Arnold Clark Cup for the second straight month this month, in addition to last summer’s glorious triumph at the country’s first-ever UEFA Women’s Euro major international trophy in women’s football.
Next month, Wiegman could lift four out of four trophies when they take on South American champions Brazil in the inaugural Finalissima. Such is the furor surrounding Wiegman’s Lionesses that the England women’s game at Wembley will be the third sold-out game in nine months.
Only the FIFA Women’s World Cup eludes Wiegman. As coach of the Netherlands, she led the Dutch team to their first final in 2019, losing only to defending champions United States, the team that also eliminated the Netherlands at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic tournament, Wiegman’s only two defeats in a major international tournament.
Last October, Wiegman’s England defeated the world champions 2-1 at Wembley, their first major win against the United States. At this summer’s World Cup, Wiegman’s fierce Lioness will be the side to beat and should they add the World title to their European title this August in Sydney, it’s inevitable that Wiegman will return to take another The Best FIFA award in 2024 to obtain.
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