Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Too early to take positives for proud England boss Southgate

Too early to take positives for proud England boss Southgate

That the nation will be backing them to gain revenge for the World Cup semi-final loss to France in 1998 is without question, as is the fact that there will once again be an army of fans decked out in red and white checks at the Luzhniki Stadium.

Kyle Walker delivered an upbeat appraisal of England's campaign in Russian Federation and proceeded to offer context by providing a comparison with previous tournaments in which he has been involved.

"We were like lions out there tonight and we will be the same in the final", he said.

"Every time we wear the shirt of our national team, we want to play with pride and play well and win". But we are going to discuss France tomorrow.

"Nobody wanted to give in when I was preparing the first eleven, nobody wanted to say I was not ready in extra time, no one wanted to be subbed and this shows character and what makes me proud".

The third-place game is played between the losers of the semi-final round in the World Cup and is generally forgotten about - so what is its objective? Did we feel we would be in this position? Hit the "up" arrows to take your favoured players up the rankings.

"So, the dressing room and all of the staff is (in) a very hard place at the moment". And that is a real feature of this generation of players.

England secured their biggest major tournament win in Russian Federation, as well as winning their first World Cup penalty shootout and first knockout match since 2006 en route to just their third ever semi-final in this competition.

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"Coach Zlatko Dalić has done a wonderful job, all the players are united and they're playing well".

"We've proved to ourselves that is possible and we've proved to our country that is possible".

Southgate said he was unsure if that was the case, but that there was no questioning what the Tottenham striker had brought to the team both on and off the pitch in Russian Federation.

"I'd need to look back again at it".

Asked about facing France, Dalic, the former Al Ain manager, said: "There is no weakness in a team that is in the final".

We played a high press on their backline.

The front pages are in stark contrast to how England's performance was portrayed in 2014, when the team were knocked out in the group stages - the first time since 1958. He's captained the team brilliantly throughout this tournament. "Everyone was nervous, but when they got a second goal, everyone took so much confidence, everyone was up in the air, the club was full, there was a great atmostphere".

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