Euro 2024: Gareth Southgate knows England ‘should be better’

Euro 2024: Gareth Southgate knows England ‘should be better’

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, England have reached at least the quarter-finals of the last four major tournaments under Southgate

Gareth Southgate says England know they “should be better than they were” at Euro 2024, but their last-16 win over Slovakia has given them confidence.

The Three Lions were on the verge of an embarrassing sending-off until Jude Bellingham scored an equaliser with a spectacular overhead kick in injury time.

Harry Kane scored the winning goal in extra time to see him face Switzerland in the quarter-finals on Saturday.

“It will undoubtedly give confidence to the whole group,” said Southgate.

“We know we should be better than we are now, but we have a lot of young players in important positions and we are trying to solve the problems during the four weeks of training camp.

“But the most striking thing is the way the players deal with it. Their camaraderie, their spirit.”

Video caption, Highlights: England 2-1 Slovakia

England played hard against Slovakia, but the group stage was also disappointing. Nevertheless, England won the group.

Southgate draws comparisons with the 1990 World Cup and 1996 European Championship, when England also started slowly before reaching the semi-finals.

“Everyone now, 30 years on, looks back on Euro 1996, which I played in, in a different way than they did then,” said Southgate, who missed the decisive penalty against Germany in the semi-final at Wembley.

“We were average against Switzerland, we were the same against Scotland. Scotland missed a penalty at 1-0. Spain should have beaten us in a 0-0 draw.

“1990 was similar, so you experience these kinds of moments during tournaments.”

Southgate also praised the “excellent” quarter-final opponent, Switzerland, ranked 19th in the world and knocked out defending champions Italy in the last round.

“They’ve had a certain consistency in what they do for a long time. Their system is hard to force. They have a good rotation,” he said.

“Once they get ahead, they are very hard to break. So they are a very good team.”