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England Women reporter notebook: Sarina Wiegman's Lionesses and the search for ruthlessness

England Women face Denmark in their second Women's World Cup 2023 match in Sydney on Friday at 9.30am BST; Sarina Wiegman's Lionesses beat Haiti 1-0 in Saturday's opener, despite chalking up 21 shots throughout the match

In the aftermath of England's 1-0 win over Haiti, there has been one word used more than any other to describe the performance.

Ruthlessness - and the lack of it from the Lionesses in front of goal.

England's head coach Sarina Wiegman said before the tournament that she was "unlikely to stick with the same side" as she did for every game in the Euros so, with that in mind, will she heed her own message? Just how ruthless will she be with her starting line up tomorrow?

"That I'm more likely to make changes doesn't have to do with that. I want to make changes," she said, speaking in her press conference ahead of Friday's clash with Denmark in Sydney.

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After only scoring once in their last four matches, Anton Toloui considers whether Sarina Wiegman will make selection changes for their second group game against Denmark.

"What we do is approach every game, and then when we get ready for that game we see who is fit and available, and then we make decisions to what we need to start with. Then we decide whether we are going to start with the same 11 or maybe make some changes."

So, perhaps Wiegman is tempted to twist rather than stick, as we have become so accustomed to from the head coach, who is demanding an improvement in "what is coming in the final third, the connections, the right crosses at the right time and being there at the right time."

All of those Wiegman says have been "worked on again for a couple of days and today looked really good, so we are very much looking forward to tomorrow."

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For the first time in a long time, the announcement of the team an hour or so before kick off will be absolutely fascinating.

Is Wiegman playing a clever game of poker and with it giving last week's starters one more chance to impress with a clear warning? Or could we see Lauren James unleashed from the off to cause some havoc in the No 10 role?

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Sky Sports News' Anton Toloui finds out how the Lionesses relax when they're not playing, as he's granted exclusive access to the team hotel.

The clamour for the Chelsea player to start can be heard from England to Sydney after her impressive cameo against Haiti last week.

Opening games of major tournaments are never straightforward and rarely predictable. England managed a win in the first game of the Euros last summer against Austria, but only just.

One goal was enough at Old Trafford - and if that's the way England have to do it, they will, said Lucy Bronze, who isn't concerned that the Lionesses had 21 shots against Haiti - 11 of which were on target - but saw their winner come from a Georgia Stanway penalty, meaning England haven't scored from open play for four games.

"Every game is important to win," Bronze added. "We are winning the games that are important to us. It's not always about scoring seven goals, you could go through a World Cup winning 1-0 all the time, or by drawing and then winning on penalties.

"Performances mean a lot to us but results are more important. The performances are there from individuals and as a collective - it's just being more ruthless and more clinical in front of goal. I don't think people would talk as much about performances versus results then."

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Sky Sports News reporter Anton Toloui takes us on an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the Lionesses' team hotel in Terrigal.

Following that Austria win in the Euros, England went out and beat Norway 8-0. If Wiegman's team come close to that tomorrow against Denmark then the Barcelona defender could well be right.

Denmark have been having their say today too and it wouldn't be a World Cup without a few mind games. The Denmark manager Lars Sondergaard might need to come up with more than the "underdogs" versus the "superpower" to catch Wiegman off guard.

She was ready for him and in total agreement. "I think, yes, I agree with that. He wants to put us in that position, we are always the team to beat and I do think we will have more possession of the ball, so let's see what happens." The England head coach was not interested in adding any fuel to that fire.

While there has been a lot of focus on England's attack and lack of cutting edge up front, there were times when England fans may have had their hearts in their mouths during that opening game at the other end.

Millie Bright came through her first 90 minutes since March relatively unscathed after some early errors and she and Bronze - the latter of whom also has limited game time after her knee operation earlier this year - will be better and more cohesive for the run-out.

What Wiegman does with Alex Greenwood will be interesting, too. Her club manager at Man City, Gareth Taylor - who we spoke to earlier this week - believes England don't get the best out of her at full-back and would prefer to see her alongside Bright in the middle with Jess Carter on the left.

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Anton Toloui and Gail Davis discuss England's 1-0 win over Haiti to kick off their World Cup campaign.

In whatever order those four line up - if indeed they do against Denmark - they know where the biggest threat will come from - and that is the former Chelsea player Pernille Harder.

Wiegman, however, says there are no "special plans that we prepare just for one player. Denmark are very well organised, they have a clear game plan in and out of possession and Harder is a big part in that. We want the ball and to play our game and dominate."

Bronze too knows exactly what to expect from the Denmark captain. "Harder's strengths are dribbling with the ball in attack and she is a hard working player, that's why they play her higher up. She has such quality on the ball that not many players in the world possess. She is a top player, but we have many of those in our side as well."

With that, the talking from England was over - and talking of being ruthless, the whole press conference was over in 12 minutes. England, after all, have a game to win and a victory in their first World Cup meeting against Denmark would see them take control of the group and a big step towards the knockout stages.

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