Gareth Southgate says England is ready to make history
Posted On July 4, 2021
Gareth Southgate has said England are ready to end their semi-final this week by making history and reaching their first final since 1966.
After dominating their Euro 2020 group and beating old German rivals in the round of 16, the Three Lions increased hope and expectations with Saturday’s resounding 4-0 quarter-final victory over Ukraine in Rome.
Denmark stood between England and their second final in their history, having fallen to the penultimate obstacle in major tournaments on four occasions since winning the World Cup in 1966.
The stinging World Cup semi-final loss to Croatia three years ago was the last, but Southgate believes his side have learned from that disappointment and are ready to write their own history again.
“We have already eliminated so many hoodoos or perceived obstacles and I have a feeling this group of players will feel that this is just the next challenge,” said the England manager.
“I guess the interesting part for us is that we won’t be totally happy if it’s just a semi-final for us, whereas maybe three years ago, although it There was a huge disappointment after the semi-final, there was a feeling we were going to come a long way.
“Now we’ve replicated what we did there, but that won’t be enough to fill the group. This is a positive sign.
“The other thing that is so positive, these young players – 18, 19, 20, 21 – have more England experiences that are positive and enjoyable and they feel what it can be to be in a shirt English and having fun and winning matches and having a positive relationship with the fans.
“It’s so important for a generation to come. We will make the most of their talent if we can keep that relationship with the fans. “
A key difference from 2018 is the heightened expectation, with Southgate himself admitting their benchmark in Russia was to end England’s 12-year wait for a knockout victory.
The former defender now has more knockout wins than any English manager in history and will go for another in Wednesday’s semi-final, backed by a boisterous fan crowd of over 60,000 people.
“It’s great to be back now,” said Southgate, who expects teenager Bukayo Saka to return to training on Monday after missing the game against Ukraine with a slight blow.
“Going in and having this different environment, the preparation, the focus was really helpful.
“But now, coming back to Wembley is good for us.”
Southgate loved the atmosphere at Wembley vs. Germany – especially the full-time rendition of ‘Sweet Caroline’ – and appreciated the brilliant support they received from expats in Rome.
The England boss believes this helps boost the focus of a team whose spirit is evident, with its 2018 World Cup ‘old tribals’ setting the tone for a group of youngsters who have all embraced the things.
Southgate says having “real experiences together” such as the sickening racism experienced in Montenegro and Bulgaria has helped bring the group together.
Denmark, opponents of the semi-finals, were undoubtedly made more tight by the shock of Christian Eriksen, victim of cardiac arrest in his group opener, reinforcing the need for everyone to make the most of every day. .
“We talk about perspective in sport, but we rarely have it,” Southgate said. “It was a moment that brought him home for all of us.
“I can also imagine what it has done for the Danish team, their bond.
“We’re talking about the things we went through, but what they went through that day – how their captain was and how the squad was – and how that would have linked to their supporters. quite powerful.
“These things definitely have an impact on the way you think. We talk a lot about pressure and we lose sight of what it can be when we play sports.
“But I know our players are at their best when they’re calm and play another game and the thinking process is really clear.
“Taking that clutter and eliminating that noise for the last couple of games and before the next one is really a crucial part of our preparation.”