Thursday, September 19, 2019

Southgate rallies England ahead of Nations League decider

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 17 Nov 2018

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England manager Gareth Southgate has told his team not to worry about permutations of the Nations League ahead of Sunday’s decider with Croatia.

Both sides played out a goalless draw last month in the reverse fixture behind closed doors in Rijeka, but Croatia’s last-gasp win against Spain on Thursday means all three teams could still be promoted from Group 4 of League A going into the final match.

A win for England or Croatia would guarantee promotion and a place in the finals of the new competition, while defeat or a draw could relegate both teams depending on the score.

The Three Lions suffered a heartbreaking extra-time defeat to Croatia in the semi-finals of the World Cup and Southgate says he will not leave anything to chance at Wembley.

“It’s dead simple, really, we just go for it,” he told reporters.

“There’s no point in hedging our bets that we might do this, we might do that or we need a 0-0.

“We have a chance to get through a really strong group, so for me we just focus on going for the win.”

Southgate is pleased with the way his young side has progressed and believes the standard of the post-World Cup fixtures have aided their development.

“We want to achieve consistent performances and continue to improve and learn as a team and these Nations League games have given us a really good test,” he said.

“It is unprecedented that you come off the back of a major tournament and have so many strong tests in such a short period.

“It’s been really good for us as a way of learning and improving with and without the ball and gaining some belief. We are pleased with progress and we want to finish well.”

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