England manager Gareth Southgate believes their Euro 2020 match against Germany is a good chance for the team to 'make some history'.
England manager Gareth Southgate believes their Euro 2020 round of 16 match against Germany is a good chance for the team to ‘make some history’. Germany and England’s stored rivalry in international football is well-known. However, recent years have not been kind to the English. Indeed, Germany have won the last four knockout matches in international tournaments that the teams have contested. This includes the 2010 World Cup Round of 16 match, remembered for Frank Lampard’s goal being disallowed. But Southgate admits this team has a chance to write a new chapter in that rivalry. Especially since many were not even born during some of the major moments of this rivalry. (Full Euro coverage)
“The game is probably worthy of more than the second round stage. But then so is Belgium against Portugal and one or two others,” Southgate said.
“It’s a great opportunity for this team to make some history and give people memories of England-Germany fixtures for the future, that are a little different to some of the ones they’ve been flooded with over the last few days which mean absolutely nothing to them because they weren’t born.”
Southgate added that the Germans won’t be afraid of playing at Wembley. This is because the side is full of players with big game experience.
“We’re playing against a very good side. You hear about Germany being this and Germany being that and then you look at the team sheet and see four World Cup winners and about six Champions League winners, so huge big game experience.
“They won’t fear coming to Wembley. We’ll have to play at our very best. We’ve got to be tactically well prepared, we’ve got to be physically well prepared and psychologically well prepared.”
Of course, given it’s a knockout fixture, there could be other factors at play too – especially penalties. The P-word is not looked at fondly by England fans. Indeed, until 2018, England never won a shootout in the World Cup.
One of those many shootout losses came in the semi-finals of Euro 1996 against Germany in the semis. Incidentally, it was Southgate himself who missed the crucial spot kick. However, the manager is confident they are prepared for that eventuality too.
“We always practice penalties,” said Southgate.
“We did for the World Cup, we did for the Nations League and obviously we won those two shootouts (against Colombia and Switzerland). So we’ll be thoroughly well prepared in the big tournaments and the big matches.”
The England boss will also take a call on including Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell later on. The Chelsea duo had to be in isolation after contact with Scotland’s Billy Gilmour, who tested positive for Covid-19.
“They are only allowed into certain elements of the training so they can’t take part in anything where the full team is training and tackling and those sorts of things, so that is limited. I’ve got to see how they are psychologically as well.
“There’s the training part of that but there’s also the having to be in their room and not interact with the lads. So it’s a really tough situation for them both.”
Lastly, Southgate also touched upon his contractual situation. The FA have made it clear they want the Englishman to extend his current deal, which runs out in 2022.
That he was publicly backed for the same says a lot about the faith in him. But while he is glad to get such backing, he is not focused on his own extension just yet.
The reason for this is that he would prefer to wait till the tournament ends before engaging in any contract talks.
“I always think it’s pointless talking about contact situations until you get to the end of tournaments and you see where everything sits, you have a much better picture of everything, how everybody feels about it,” he explained.
“I really appreciate the backing and the support and I think if he hadn’t done that it would have caused a whirlwind of other stories, so I’m thankful for that and I’m just realistic and focused on the now and doing as well as we can in this tournament.”
England play Germany in the Euro 2020 Round of 16 on Tuesday (June 29).