Southgate sets England stars a new World Cup challenge after Colombia thriller

Gareth Southgate has urged his players to banish another of England’s footballing curses and take another step to World Cup glory.

They face bogey team Sweden in Saturday afternoon’s quarter-final, having beaten them just twice in the last 15 meetings.

Three Lions boss Southgate believes after ending the 12-year wait to win a knockout match in a tournament and halting the losing run in penalty shoot-outs all in one go against Colombia on Tuesday, they will have the confidence to beat the Swedes.

Southgate said: “Our historic record against them is another one we have to put right. We have always viewed them at our level and I don’t think that’s right because their tournament record is better than ours.

“Sweden are often underestimated and I have real respect for Sweden. They are always more than the sum of their parts. Playing against them is really difficult. It’s a great and completely different test to the one we faced against Colombia.”

Southgate admitted the Three Lions’ progress at this World Cup has taken him by surprise, with his men now dreaming of football FINALLY coming home after disposing of Colombia to reach the last eight.

The draw has opened up for them, with one of England, Sweden, Croatia and Russia definitely in the final. But Southgate has praised their down-to-earth mentality, which ensures they do not to get carried away.

Southgate admits the FA plan was Euro 2020, with its semis and finals at Wembley, giving them a great chance of success, but realistically the successful youth teams would come to fruition for the next World Cup two years later.

“They are still a young group of players, especially the back players. So it was really significant because we can’t just be a team that goes out and plays," he said.

“You have got to be savvy enough and tactically aware and ready to manage games. That’s what makes the difference in big matches, European matches, international matches but also they have a humility about them.

Read More

World Cup 2018

  • Fixtures and schedule in full
  • Stadiums
  • Squads
  • How to get tickets
  • Betting odds
  • Kit power rankings
  • TV Schedule
  • England’s World Cup WAGs

“I talked to them about where they all started and the different clubs. We are based on working hard for each other, we don’t carry anybody, they all pressed, they all have good organisation and they are prepared to graft and dig in for each other.

“I know those are slightly old fashioned qualities but we don’t have the right to just stroll around a football pitch. We play with character and I love that about them.

“I think in terms of what they are capable of over the next few years, they are going to get better. In this tournament we now have to assess all the injuries and see where we are.

“For sure, going to extra time I’m pleased we did what we did in the Belgium game even more because I think it’s an accumulation of fatigue making things more difficult. But now we have a chance to reassess and it will be a tough game.”

Who will qualify for the semi-finals?


Source: Read Full Article