The players were immense: Gareth Southgate on beating Germany

Two late goals from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane helped England beat Germany in the round-of-16 of Euro 2020.

Gareth Southgate in a file photo. (Image: Twitter)

Gareth Southgate was understandably ecstatic with England’s 2-0 victory over Germany in the round-of-16 of Euro 2020 on Tuesday. However, the head coach has warned his players to quickly refocus for their quarterfinal clash. It was not easy sailing for the Three Lions as they had to dig deep to get over the line. Jordan Pickford saved brilliantly from Timo Werner and Kai Havertz on either side of half-time before Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane scored two late goals to book a place in the last eight of the competition. It was England’s first win over Germany in a knockout match since the 1966 World Cup final.

“The players were immense, right the way through the team,” England manager Southgate said after the match. “The fans in the stadium were also incredible. I’ve been in here with a full house and not heard it near the levels heard today, but the energy was incredible in the stadium. To be able to send them home feeling as they do tonight… and you can’t beat a bit of ‘Sweet Caroline’, that’s a belter really!

“For those people, after such a difficult year at home, to have that enjoyment we’ve given them today was very special. It didn’t need me to say it, but when we got in the dressing room we were talking about Saturday already. Today’s been an immense performance but at a cost emotionally and physically. We need to make sure we recover well.”

‘It’s a dangerous moment for us’

Despite securing the crucial victory, Southgate has urged his players to be fully focused for the quarterfinal match, warning that they not achieved what they came here for. “It’s a dangerous moment for us. We have a feeling round the country that we only have to turn up to win the thing now, but it’s going to be an immense challenge from here on,” he added.

“The players’ feet are on the ground, they should feel confident from the way they’ve played, but we came here with an intention and we’ve not achieved that yet. To see the second goal in was a really special moment. But we’ve not achieved what we want to achieve yet. We can look back on a day like today in the future, but I want to get my focus right and look ahead to Saturday.”

Southgate went on to explain the tough task at their hands while playing Germany and how well his team coped with it. “The performance was really important,” he said. “We were playing a team with four World Cup winners, a manager who has had an incredible career with Germany. I have huge respect for what he’s done. We know there have always been questions about us against big teams and we knew Germany, with their experience, would dictate certain parts of the game.

“We will always have passion and heart but we also had brains. We pressed at the right moment, the forwards picked the right moments to go and stay, we found a balance of being brave with the ball and keeping possession in our own half and right moments to go quickly and counter. That was a real step forward for us.”

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