< Back to blog

Southgate gets England dreaming of Euro 2020 glory Posted On 30 June 2021

Coach oversees rare win against Germany to set up quarter-final tie with Ukraine

 

Twenty-five years after the lowest point of his career, The Quiet Man last night finally suppressed his tortured past. With his back arched, fists clenched in celebration, Gareth Southgate roared in triumph as his England side roared into the quarter-finals of Euro 2020, for once leaving the Germans to shed tears of despair at Wembley.

His penalty miss in the Euro 96 semi-final shoot-out has been a like a ball and chain to the affable Southgate, a perpetual reminder of a failure which, if converted, could have propelled England into the final and ended “30 years of hurt”.

But last night goals from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane exorcised the coach’s demons, allowing him to move out of the gloom cast by Germany’s class of 96.

And even if it doesn’t “come home” this year, then at least Southgate gave the nation something to smile about today and a last-eight tie against the Ukraine to look forward to.

For such a thoughtful man, his tactics seem rather basic: just make the side difficult to beat. In tournament football, that means loading your defence, getting through the group phase in a business-like fashion and then picking your way through the knockout stages.

Previously chided for being over-cautious – perhaps reflecting his own career as a cultured defender – Southgate last night laid himself open to further barbs by naming a side that was essentially three at the back but could easily have been interpreted as a seven-man defence. The point was it was fluid, and when the game opened up midway through the second half as both sides strove to avoid extra time, the team came into its own.

The turning point came with the introduction of substitute Jack Grealish, who made a compelling case to start Saturday’s last-eight tie in Rome. Instrumental in both goals, he provided a much-needed link to the often-isolated Kane, who converted the Aston Villa forward’s cross to make it 2-0.

And while Sterling took the plaudits for breaking the deadlock with his third goal of the tournament, much credit must be given to a defence which has yet to be breached, despite three heart-in-the-mouth moments.

For that alone, Southgate has to be respected.

< Back to blog

Connect with us

Recent Posts

The dos and don’ts of washing your car during the summer

Follow your tips to keep your motors looking shiny and new even during the hot months   While it may be tempting to crack out the bucket and sponge when the sun is out, washing your car in high temperatures and while the sun is beaming down can ...

Read more...

Dog walking apps you can use to earn some extra cash

People have been making money for years by dog walking and these apps have made it even easier   Dog walking is right up there with babysitting and selling lemonade from a wooden stall in the front garden as odd jobs you can do to earn a few ext...

Read more...

Ideal ways of getting shade into your garden ahead of warm summer days

Do not get caught out and burnt while trying to enjoy sunny days   Say it quietly, but summer is officially just around the corner.   As days grow longer and the scent of barbecues sting the air, we Brits cannot help ourselves but to get e...

Read more...