Gareth Southgate seems to be finally the coach England had waited for. Under his command, England has finally won a knock-out game in a major tournament. They hadn’t won a match in an elimination round since 2006. Also, this is the first time in England’s history that they win in a penalty shootout.
Football is beautiful. Yesterday it gave back to Southgate what it took from him in 1996. In particular, England lost in a penalty shootout in the European Championship semifinals due to a missed penalty by Gareth Southgate.
Yesterday, after the game he was understandably very happy. This is what he said:
” I’m so proud of the way we played, because coming into a knock-out game knowing our recent history and so to play with the authority and the composure we did was really top. Then, we had to show incredible resilience to come back from such a blow right before the final whistle.
The stadium felt at that moment like it was entirely based of Colombians, but the players were calm, we kept calm in the extra time. We kept our discipline, we kept our composure, kept trying to win the game, but also made sure that we were tactically solid. “
On the question what was going through his mind when the penalties came, he answered:
” We were very calm, just making sure that we had our order right. We had to make a couple of changes because of injuries during the extra time period. But it was a process that we were in charge of and the guys executed it brilliantly. “
He also had some good words about England’s rivals in the quarterfinal:
” We have a really short time to prepare for a really tough game versus Sweden. There is another record we have to put right. They are a very difficult team to play against. I respect them hugely because they get results and people dismiss them, but they are a really tough team. “
Southgate has talked about a bad record against Sweden because in the last 10 games against them, England has only won 2 games.