• Friday, July 12, 2024
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England ready to make history at Euro 2024- Southgate

Southgate England Euro 2024

Despite having a shaky start, England manager, Gareth Southgate has said the Three Lions are ready to make history at the Euro 2024 as they prepare for a semi-final showdown against the Netherlands.

Southgate reflected on his team’s journey and their initial struggles. The Three Lions won one and drew two group-stage matches before narrowly beating Slovakia and edging past Switzerland on penalties in the knock-out stages.

“We couldn’t quite get ourselves in the right place,” Southgate said. “One of our strengths over the years has been having less fear, and showing less inhibition. But at the beginning of the tournament, the expectation weighed heavily and the noise from outside had never been louder.”

England captain Harry Kane emphasised the importance of past experiences in approaching tough games like Wednesday’s semi-final. “During the game, you lean on experience, the leaders who have been there and done that,” Kane said.

“Ultimately, it’s about going out there and taking the opportunity with both hands. Reaching back-to-back European Championship finals would be an amasing achievement and we have the opportunity to
do that.”

The winners of Wednesday’s semi-final will play Spain on Sunday after their 2-1 win over France on Tuesday.

Reflecting on previous tournaments, England were beaten by Italy on penalties in the Euro 2020 final, reached the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, and were knocked out by France in the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup.

While Kane acknowledged that “as we’ve been getting better the expectation gets higher,” he said the added pressure can sometimes boost players.

“Some will use it in different ways, some will use it as motivation, some will just block it out and focus on what they need to do. Everyone’s different. From a team point of view, we know what we need to achieve. We have a game; a really tough game and we need to be ready for it. We’ve prepared for that.”

Southgate, known for making late substitutions, said changes are “not pre-conditioned” and depend on the game. “You are always looking at the freshness of the team and the balance of the team and whether changes are going to make an improvement to the team or not,” he said. “The game will take us in a certain direction that will make that decision for us.”

Defender Luke Shaw, who made his first appearance from the bench in the win against Switzerland after returning from injury, remains uncertain about the starting lineup. Southgate stated they “have to decide” if Shaw, who had been injured for four months, is “ready to start.”