Thursday, July 25, 2024

England fighting to ´regain credibility´ on the international stage, says Southgate

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 6 Jul 2024

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Gareth Southgate says he is fighting for England to “regain credibility” on the international stage after they reached the semi-finals of Euro 2024.

The Three Lions edged out Switzerland 5-3 on penalties having seen the game finish 1-1 after 120 minutes, with Bukayo Saka cancelling out Breel Embolo’s opener.

Trent Alexander-Arnold scored the winning spot-kick, with Jordan Pickford once again proving his penalty expertise by keeping out Manuel Akanji’s effort.

Southgate marked his 100th game as the Three Lions’ coach with just the team’s fourth shoot-out win, after what was arguably their best display at Euro 2024 so far.

Less than two weeks after cups were hurled in his direction by fans following a goalless draw with Slovenia in the group stage, Southgate was serenaded at full-time as he danced with his players on the pitch.

“Every now and then you think, ‘surely there has to be some enjoyment in this job?’,” said Southgate.

“So if I can’t enjoy that moment, then the whole thing is a waste of time.”

The win put England into their third semi-final in four tournaments under his stewardship, and they will face the Netherlands in Dortmund next Wednesday.

Having come under fire for their performances in Germany, Southgate detailed his sole aim when taking the England job back in 2016.

“I love the players, I love being in that moment with them. I took this job to try and improve English football,” he said.

“I wanted us to regain credibility on the world stage. So I can’t deny that when it’s as personal as it’s been in the last few weeks on a human level, that’s quite difficult.

“But we’re fighting. We’re not going to stop fighting. As I said, we’re in another semi-final and we’ll see where we can get to.”

Jude Bellingham was one of the five penalty takers entrusted to send England through to the semi-finals.

Bellingham followed Cole Palmer in putting the ball past Yann Sommer, then Saka, Ivan Toney and Alexander-Arnold kept England perfect in the shoot-out.

“These moments are even more special, or only special, if you go on to win the next game and hopefully win the tournament,” Bellingham said.

“It’s moments like these that you look back on and make it even more worth it. It all becomes worth it if you can back it up and that’s what we have to do in the next few days.”

“All in all, it’s probably our best performance of the tournament. We are very proud of the boys.

“The things you can’t always measure and see is character and mentality and we showed that again in the shoot-out. For subs to come on and take a penalty in that pressure is a special, special thing.”

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