Gareth Southgate has urged his England side to end their semi-final hoodoo and reach their first final since winning the 1966 World Cup. Since their triumph, they have reached the semi-finals on four occasions and lost all four of them. Recently they lost the 2018 World Cup semifinal against Croatia after being the heavy favorites to reach the final. Southgate revealed that his side has learned from their mistakes and vowed not to repeat them again at Euro 2020.
“We’ve knocked off so many hoodoos or perceived barriers already and I feel like this group of players will feel this is just the next challenge,” the England manager Gareth Southgate said. “I guess the interesting part for us is we won’t feel totally satisfied if it’s just a semi-final for us, whereas maybe three years ago, although there was a massive disappointment after the semi-final, there was a feeling we’d come a long way.”
“Now we’ve replicated what we did there, but that won’t be enough to fulfil the group. That’s a positive sign,” he added. “The other thing that is so positive, these young players – 18, 19, 20, 21 – are getting more experiences of England that are positive and enjoyable and they’re feeling what it can be like to be in an England shirt and have fun and win matches and have a relationship with the fans that is positive.”
The biggest difference is the expectation of the team as compared to the last tournament. Southgate believed that their hurdle at the last World Cup was to get their first knockout stage win. This time around they were the pre-tournament favorites. Southgate has become the manager with most knockout victories. He will be hoping to become the first manager to reach a final in almost half a decade.