Sun. Dec 4th, 2022

GARETH SOUTHGATE wants England to be an important reference point for world football domination.

Even for the country’s ruler, the situation is this: the more Germans, the better.

Southgate wants Britain to be inspired by Germany

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Southgate wants Britain to be inspired by Germany1 credit
Germany has won the World Cup four times in 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014.

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Germany has won the World Cup four times in 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014.Credits: AP:Associated Press

On the eve of his third tournament in charge, Southgate revealed that he was killing some time looking at the impressive international records of our top international competitors on Wikipedia.

Despite leading his country to a World Cup semi-final in Russia four years ago and the Euro 2020 final last summer, the Three Lions’ Hall of Fame on Wiki is a disgrace by comparison.

Southgate entered Monday’s Group B opening after a shocking Nations League run without a six-game win against Iran.

But he stressed that this should have little to do with what may happen next month in Qatar.

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Southgate, 52, said: “It’s hard to talk about form because in international football it’s always six weeks, two months between games, so what is form really?

“What exists is pedigree. When I look at the Wikipedia pages, we want to be a Germany that won four gold, four silver and four bronze.

“European Championship – three gold, three silver, three bronze.

“Yes, our page didn’t look quite like that, but if it was like this 40 years from now, we’d be delighted and our goal should be to be constantly challenging. We remind ourselves of the privilege and uniqueness of being here. Only 16 England teams have participated in a World Cup so far.

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“Most of the staff and players are in their second row. Rahim [Sterling] at the age of three. You should remind yourself of this moment in time.

“Tournament football is different. Germany has always been one of the most important examples of this. This is how we really need to be.”

Southgate enters this World Cup in a shower of negativity, not only because of his team’s erratic form, but also because of the issues surrounding the tournament.

The Three Lions boss tried to focus his 26-man squad on entertainment and football.

Even at his pre-game press conference on Sunday night, Southgate was asked about human rights issues in Iran.

Captain Harry Kane was asked about the condition of the OneLove armband and whether he could be fined or even penalized for not being approved by Fifa.

Southgate, whose team was visited by Prince William at St George’s Park a week ago, said: “What we’re trying to do is get them excited about going to a World Cup, and that’s balanced between the issues they’re asked to discuss which are very serious.

“There is a lot of negativity in the tournament and I want them to understand the unique honor of representing England in a major tournament.

“This is what they wanted to do all their lives.

“We tried to talk about these things to make it special.

“Obviously, the future king was with us to support what’s special for everyone, and then the work on the training ground really focused.

“We’re looking forward to it. Players should not be ashamed to get excited.”

Historically, England have had bad starts at major tournaments, and this includes just seven wins in their 15 inaugural World Cup matches.

Russia beat Tunisia 2-1 in 2018 – but that was only thanks to a 91st minute win by Harry Kane.

Southgate was asked if he would give basic instruction to his team to start the tournament well.

He added with a smile: “Obviously we can get this from any host at any bar.

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“If we had a moment against Tunisia where we started very well and then suddenly a penalty was taken and now we’re 1-1, that’s what we’re going to do and how are we going to be?

“We’ve never played a final outside of our own shores, so we’re trying to do things that haven’t been accomplished before. This is a big challenge for them as a group.”