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England boss Southgate not on redemption mission at Euro 2020

The Euro 2020 draw takes place in Bucharest on Saturday.

Gareth Southgate looks dejected after missing a penalty in England’s shoot-out defeat to Germany at Euro 96 (PA)
Gareth Southgate looks dejected after missing a penalty in England’s shoot-out defeat to Germany at Euro 96 (PA)

By Jamie Gardner, PA Chief Sports Reporter

England manager Gareth Southgate insists next summer’s Euro 2020 tournament will not be about personal redemption.

The draw for next summer’s finals, where England will play all three of their group matches at Wembley, takes place in Bucharest on Saturday.

England would also play their semi-final and the final at the national stadium should they make it that far and the tournament is sure to bring back memories of Euro 96, hosted entirely by England and a competition which ended in heartbreak for the hosts when Southgate missed a penalty in a semi-final shoot-out defeat to Germany.

He insists there will be no personal element to matching or bettering that achievement next summer, only satisfaction at the team securing success.

He told BBC Sport: “The tournament next summer is not about me and redemption. On a personal level the World Cup in Russia was, I guess, my own catharsis.

“Getting out of a penalty shoot-out (against Colombia) was something that was nice to do, but the team is about the players and our fans and it’s more important we make them proud. We have to win matches to do that.”

Southgate believes his England side will be a “threat” others will want to avoid in Saturday’s draw.

Southgate and his players celebrate beating Colombia en route to the World Cup semi-finals (Tim Goode/PA)

The national team boss took the Three Lions to the World Cup semi-finals in Russia in 2018 at a tournament where expectations were at their lowest in recent memory, but home advantage in the group phase in the Euros inevitably brings greater pressure.

Southgate feels his side’s form makes them an opponent to be feared.

“I think we’ve gained some respect and I think people would view us as a threat which certainly wasn’t the case ahead of Russia,” he said.

“We also know we have to got to improve to another level. It’s hard to assess exactly where we are after this qualifying campaign, but if we looked at the World Cup semi and the Nations League semi, we’ve done all we could in terms of qualifying with the most goals in Europe, so we are on a good track.”

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal are possible group stage opponents for England (Mike Egerton/PA)

World champions France and European champions Portugal could both end up in the same group as England and Southgate believes picking a winner of the tournament is an extremely tough task.

“The difference on one day between any of the top 10 teams is so marginal in football,” he added.

“It’s different in rugby where only four of five are contenders, with us in the Euros it’s always been more random than a World Cup – you could look at any one of 10 teams and think they could win it.”

England would face Scotland at Wembley should Steve Clarke’s side come through their play-off semi and final in March next year. The Scots face Israel in a Hampden Park semi-final and would then travel to Norway or Serbia for a one-off match to secure their place and would play their other two Group D matches in Glasgow.

Wales players celebrate after securing qualification with a win over Hungary (Nick Potts/PA)

Wales, who booked their place in the finals with victory over Hungary earlier this month, know they will go into Group A or B.

Group A features Italy, who know they will play all three of their group matches in Rome. Wales are in the lowest pot of seeds, so could also be in Group A alongside France and Portugal.

Group B only has one slot left to fill, with Belgium, Russia and Denmark already in it. Wales’ matches would be played in Copenhagen and St Petersburg in that eventuality.

Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are fighting for one place in the finals when play-off path B takes place in March.

If either one emerges victorious in that four-team mini-tournament, they will head into Group E alongside Spain, with matches in this group to be hosted in Bilbao and Dublin.



From Belfast Telegraph