Saturday, July 13, 2024

´We all want to be loved´ – Southgate proves doubters wrong as England reach Euro 2024 final

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 11 Jul 2024

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Gareth Southgate was delighted to prove the doubters wrong as England advanced to the Euro 2024 final with Wednesday’s last-gasp win over the Netherlands.

Ollie Watkins came off the bench to fire home as England’s semi-final clash with the Oranje ticked into second-half stoppage time, after they had earlier trailed to Xavi Simons’ long-range strike.

The Three Lions have now reached the final at two of four major tournaments under Southgate, having only done so at one of their previous 23, at the 1966 World Cup.

Southgate had faced fierce criticism for a perceived negative approach earlier in the tournament, having cups thrown at him by his own supporters after a goalless group-stage draw with Slovenia.

Speaking at his post-match press conference, he admitted proving his doubters wrong made the victory sweeter.

“We all want to be loved, right?” he said. “When you are doing something for your country and you are a proud Englishman, when all you read is criticism… it is hard.

“To be able to celebrate a second final is very, very special. We have given people some amazing nights, some of the best nights in 50 years.”

Timed at 89 minutes and 59 seconds, Watkins’ goal was the latest winner scored in a semi-final at a European Championship or World Cup.

The Aston Villa striker has played just 29 minutes off the bench in Germany, but Southgate praised him for staying patient in search of an opportunity.

“It shows the more modern England way, but also the resilience and character of the group,” Southgate said.

“Ollie has trained like that every day. He has trained for his moment, no matter how frustrated he might have been.

“They had each others’ backs, they bonded so well and tonight it was an example of that.”

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