Monday, July 15, 2024

Southgate proud ahead of 100th game, but England milestone is ´least-important stat of the week´

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 6 Jul 2024

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England boss Gareth Southgate is proud of reaching 100 games in charge of the Three Lions, but says that statistic means nothing compared to the final result against Switzerland.

Southgate has been in charge of England since 2016 and has led them to a sustained period of relative success.

Having reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, England finished third in the Nations League the following year and then were runners-up at Euro 2020.

A quarter-final exit to France at the 2022 World Cup followed, but England went into Euro 2024 as favourites.

And while they have so far failed to deliver spectacular performances, the Three Lions are just two games away from another final.

“I’m very proud but it is the least important stat of the week,” said Southgate.

“The only thing that matters is it is a quarter-final and my complete focus is to get my country into another semi-final.

“I’m sure in years to come I will look back and reflect with great pride. But at the moment it is the last thing on my mind.”

Only two other England managers have reached the 100-game landmark; Walter Winterbottom drew his 100th match (3-3 with Northern Ireland in 1958), while Alf Ramsey won his 1-0 against Wales in 1972.

England have won 49 of their 116 matches at major international tournaments, and could be the sixth European nation to reach 50 after Germany, Italy, France, Spain and the Netherlands.

And Southgate knows the pressure is on to deliver.

“It is a fact of life. If you are in one of the most high-profile jobs in world football then there will always be speculation, assessment of what’s going on, so I am not worried,” he said.

“When I was a younger manager trying to forge a career you are worried about if the first job doesn’t go well there won’t be another job. So you are worrying about failing and getting the sack.

“Now I am older, I’m 53, I’m not worried about losing or what will go wrong. We have the chance to get into a semi-final. It is a positive thing to focus on. It has been my mindset for quite a while now.”

Southgate has won 60 of his previous 99 matches in charge, with 13 of those victories coming at major tournaments.

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