England coach Gareth Southgate feels that his team should follow Germany’s example in the 2006 World Cup and beyond. Germany hosted the 2006 World Cup and were entering the tournament at the back of a group stage exit in Euro 2004. However, they clinched third place in the competition and had a great string of results for the next decade. The Germans reached at least the semi-finals of the 6 major tournaments that followed. They won the 2014 World Cup and 2017 Confederations, reached the final of Euro 2008 and reached the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup and the Euros in 2012 and 2016.
Southgate wants his side to take inspiration from those string of performances. “I remember Germany in 2006, and it feels like we are in a similar place,” said the 47-year old.
“They reconnected with the fans and showed real signs of progress. They kept progressing and making latter stages. It still took them eight years to win, but that’s got to be our ambition. We’ve asked the team to take on board a lot of new ways of working, and they’ve really embraced that. They’ve made so many breakthroughs throughout the tournament. We kept knocking down barriers and creating our own history.”
“A lot of the lads came into the tournament with four or five caps. There’s so many things to build on now and we’ve got to make sure we do that.”
Despite England’s World Cup journey being cut short by Croatia, Southgate wants his team to end the World Cup on a winning note by defeating Belgium in the 3rd place playoff. “We want to win the game. The spirit in the group is really good. We need to see if we need to add some fresh energy into the team. We owe it to ourselves to finish well, and we want to finish well for the fans.”
Englan’s 3rd place playoff against Belgium will take place tomorrow at Saint Petersburg.