International Soccer

‘This group are different’ – Gareth Southgate explains why his England are better than past teams

Gareth Southgate claimed his England squad is more ‘savvy’ and ‘tournament wise’ than past iterations of the Three Lions after they reached the semi-finals of Euro 2024.

England drew 1-1 with Switzerland in their quarter-final on Saturday before prevailing 5-3 on penalties, setting up a mouthwatering clash with the Netherlands in Dortmund on Wednesday.

Southgate, though heavily criticised for his negative tactics in recent times, has guided England to a third semi-final in their last four tournaments. Though performances have not always been pleasing on the eye, his side have largely matched the lofty expectations set of them, short of winning a trophy.

Speaking after Saturday’s triumph in Dusseldorf, Southgate explained the differences between his England side and the underwhelming versions which preceded them.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harry Kane

England have been relatively successful under Southgate / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

“There’s what we ideally want to be, and then there’s how we’ve needed to find ways to win with all the obstacles we’ve had. Going back to losing players a couple of months ago, losing players just before the tournament, different balance of the team, different challenges all the way through, really,” he began.

“But, yeah, as I said to the players, again, with England it was often start 25 minutes really well, ahead in games and then out in the early knockout rounds.

“We weren’t savvy, we weren’t tournament wise. This group are different. They keep possession for longer periods. We haven’t always got it right. The games with that we’ve ultimately gone out people can always look back and highlight things.

“But, in general, we’ve shown the resilience that the teams that win tournaments have had for years and years.

“Italy, France, Spain, you know, it’s not all pure football. It’s other attributes that they’ve had, and we’re showing a little bit more of that streetwise nature. We want to always be competitive in tournaments. England should be competitive for the coming years.

“This is a young team that a lot of them are going to be around for a long time. But, of course, now we want to deliver one.

“We’ve never been to a final outside of England, we’ve never won a Euros, so there’s two bits of history we’d love to create.”

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