‘England want to go two steps further’

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July 4, 2021
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    England are not settling for a semi-final spot at Euro 2020 after they reached the last four by thrashing Ukraine, says Gareth Southgate.

    The 4-0 win in Rome means England have matched their run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals in Russia and their showing in the Nations League in 2019.

    "It's fabulous," Southgate told BBC Sport. "I suppose it's still sinking in that it's another semi-final – three in three years.

    "We want to go two steps further."

    • Best action and reaction from England's Euro 2020 last-eight win over Ukraine
    • England thrash Ukraine to set up first Euros semi-final in 25 years
    • Ukraine v England: how you rated the players
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    • Who stands between England and Euros glory?

    England will face Denmark in their semi-final at Wembley next Wednesday. The winners will play Spain or Italy, who meet in Tuesday's semi-final, also being played at Wembley.

    The stunning display in Rome gives England their third semi-final at a European Championship, after 1968 and 1996, with the latter also on home soil.

    It was also their biggest European Championship finals win, and their largest in the knockout stages of a major tournament, and comes after the significant victory over Germany in the last 16.

    "It's fabulous for our country – a semi-final at Wembley," continued Southgate. "Everyone can really look forward to that – it's brilliant.

    "I know what will be happening at home. It's lovely to see everyone on a Saturday night, beer in hand. They should enjoy it. It's been a long year for everyone.

    "I'm chuffed the two performances [against Germany and Ukraine] have brought so much happiness to people."

    'We need to look after players'

    England set the tone for Saturday's stellar display with the opener from Harry Kane after just four minutes. They made an even quicker start to the second half as Harry Maguire headed in with just a minute gone.

    Kane's second and a first international goal from substitute Jordan Henderson completed the rout.

    Having made changes to his side throughout the tournament, the latest of which saw Jadon Sancho brought in for his first start, Southgate was also able to bring players off to rest and to protect them from bookings that could have led to suspension for the semi-final.

    "The players have been fantastic," added Southgate. "To play as well as they did in a game with so much resting on it was impressive.

    "We've known we had players we needed to look after physically. We know across seven games, the squad is so important, trying to give people a breather at the right time.

    "We learned a lot from Russia in that instance. We were trying to balance players with knocks and yellow cards."

    'It's where we wanted to be'

    Captain Kane's two goals came after he broke his tournament duck with his strike against Germany in the last 16, and he was thrilled with the team's display.

    "What a great performance in a big game," he told BBC Sport.

    "We were favourites. There was a lot of pressure and a lot of expectations. The performance was top-drawer. Another clean sheet, four goals – it was a perfect night for us.

    "It's where we wanted to be. We set out a vision before the World Cup of what we want to achieve. We are knocking it off step by step. The World Cup was great but we fell short. We had a good run in the Nations League. We're in another semi-final.

    "Now it's about getting over the line – the next step that we have got to do on Wednesday.

    "We have more experience [than 2018]. We've been playing for our clubs in big games – Champions League finals, Premier League title races. We're looking confident. Hopefully we can continue that.

    "The job is not done yet. There's a lot more football to play."

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    Tottenham striker Kane has scored nine major tournament goals for England, level with Alan Shearer and second only to Gary Lineker.

    Prior to his goal against Germany, he had gone four matches without scoring for his country, during which he struggled to make an impact.

    "It's always nice to score early in a game. It's a great feeling to help the team," he added.

    "There was a lot of talk about me and my performances. But I'm just ready for the next game and trying to lead this team to the European final."

    'This group is not settling for a semi-final'

    Harry Maguire (left) and Declan Rice (right)Luke Shaw's assist for Harry Maguire was the first time two Manchester United players have combined for an England goal at a major tournament since David Beckham assisted Paul Scholes vs Portugal in Euro 2000

    Saturday's result also represents another clean sheet for England – their fifth in a row in this tournament.

    They have now kept seven consecutive clean sheets for the first time in their history, with the Three Lions run without conceding currently standing at 662 minutes.

    Defender Maguire, who contributed to England's solidity at one end and in a goalscoring capacity at the other, told BBC Sport: "We have great belief in the dressing room.

    "It is hard to soak it up when you have another big game coming and you know who you are playing and when.

    "The dressing room will be a great atmosphere tonight and then we will wake up tomorrow and be focused again. This group are not settling for a semi-final, we want to go further."

    The sentiment was echoed by Henderson, the scorer of the fourth goal.

    "We can't dwell too long," he said. "We've got a big game on Wednesday and we need to give absolutely everything.

    "We have always felt we are continuing to grow as a team and we feel we are ready to take the next step.

    "Denmark are a tough side so we need to be at our very best if we want to go to the final but hopefully we can do that."

    In reference to his headed goal – his first in 62 international caps – he added: "It's about time [for me to score]. It's been a long time coming. Thankfully I managed to get on the scoresheet.

    "I'm just delighted for the lads because the performance was fantastic."

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    'This is a special moment for me'

    Borussia Dortmund winger Sancho has featured for just six minutes in the tournament prior to Saturday's game, but impressed in his first start with his skill and drive.

    The 21-year-old, who is set to join Manchester United after they agreed a fee of £73m with Dortmund, told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I'm feeling over the moon. Today was must-win and I'm just happy to have got an opportunity to play. This is a special moment for me.

    "Every time I haven't been playing I've been going back to training and been giving it everything.

    "I've just been focusing on myself while I've been at England. I've always been ready if I needed to come on.

    "We knew today was going to be a big game, Ukraine are a very good side. I'm delighted."

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    1060 commentsShowLatestOldestHighest RatedMost Replied

    • M

      Comment posted by manmadevirus, today at 00:46

      Southgate has given us an England team we can all be proud of. Remember Stevie G saying his Liverpool team mates used to love going away for internationals and it baffled him. That “golden generation” never did anything because they couldn’t put their league rivalry’s aside. This squad all seems to genuinely like each other. Whatever happens they’ve done the country proud.26120

      • B

        Reply posted by BovrilGate, today at 01:00

        "Southgate has given us an England team we can all be proud of. Remember Stevie G saying his Liverpool team mates used to love going away for internationals and it baffled him. That “golden generation” never did anything because they couldn’t put their league rivalry’s aside. This squad all seems to genuinely like each other. Whatever happens they’ve done the country proud."BovrilGate replied: Spot on. GS picks ABC for one match and XYZ for the next, everyone working as a team, no sign of inter-club rivalry. Good example for posters on here, many of whom can’t get past their club affiliations.1657

      More replies (16)

    • B

      Comment posted by BBC123, today at 00:45

      Yeah, but Southgate is crap, innit? Bringing Maguire and Henderson along with him, and his right backs and his boring defensive football….. we’ll never get anywhere with him. Also picking Sterling?! Talentless player. No end product, you see. Why didn’t he drop Kane, he only scores goals, no contributor. Have a 2-2-6 formation and go for it.

      Bring back the golden generation, I say. And Sven.18925

      • F

        Reply posted by fedupwithidealists, today at 01:04

        "Yeah, but Southgate is crap, innit? Bringing Maguire and Henderson along with him, and his right backs and his boring defensive football….. we’ll never get anywhere with him. Also picking Sterling?! Talentless player. No end product, you see. Why didn’t he drop Kane, he only scores goals, no contributor. Have a 2-2-6 formation and go for it.Bring back the golden generation, I say. And Sven."fedupwithidealists replied: Can only assume the down voters don’t get sarcasm12512

      More replies (13)

    • J

      Comment posted by Jay, today at 00:43

      Southgates plan is working. He studied the style of past tournament winners, many had a solid defensive formation. 5 games – no goals conceded, 8 goals scored.

      Plus his management style on/off the pitch seems calm & collected, which the whole squad is chimming to. Ok, we have not always played the most attractive footy, but created enough sparks of quality to get the job done. Well done Gareth.14913

      • M

        Reply posted by More Like It, today at 00:48

        "Southgates plan is working. He studied the style of past tournament winners, many had a solid defensive formation. 5 games – no goals conceded, 8 goals scored. Plus his management style on/off the pitch seems calm & collected, which the whole squad is chimming to. Ok, we have not always played the most attractive footy, but created enough sparks of quality to get the job done. Well done Gareth."More Like It replied: exactly, France 2018 & Portugal 2016 were further proof how these things are won. Stay solid.

        Who wants to play gung-ho against Germany and lose heroically when we can beat them?1064

      More replies (6)

    • G

      Comment posted by GrandSettonubs, today at 03:33

      Scottish fan here. I’m torn.

      Looks like England are playing the best football they have for decades.

      I don’t mind England doing well, but if you win the bloody thing, do I want to hear about it for the rest of my life?

      Anyway, there’s a lot of decent England sports fans, some who backed all the home Nations. I appreciate that gesture.

      There are toxic ones too but maybe you can sort them out.1015

      • R

        Reply posted by ryccewix, today at 03:50

        "Scottish fan here. I’m torn.Looks like England are playing the best football they have for decades.I don’t mind England doing well, but if you win the bloody thing, do I want to hear about it for the rest of my life?Anyway, there’s a lot of decent England sports fans, some who backed all the home Nations. I appreciate that gesture.There are toxic ones too but maybe you can sort them out."ryccewix replied: Cheers mate, 👍breath holding not advised on the idiots. Sure all countries have them
        Stupid likes company.564

      More replies (7)

    • B

      Comment posted by Bob, today at 00:50

      All the boys did fantastic, Denmark will be a difficult game but fingers crossed they play as well again1008

      • C

        Reply posted by Cheggers, today at 01:33

        "All the boys did fantastic, Denmark will be a difficult game but fingers crossed they play as well again"Cheggers replied: Danes will be very hard to beat but hopefully we have the momentum now. Would like to see someone replace Mount. In 3 games he’s contributed 2 good corner deliveries and isn’t linking defence and attack like a No.10 should.4539

      More replies (12)

    • N

      Comment posted by newjoy, today at 00:45

      We’ve grown into this competition, and whilst Southgate has come in for some stick, he’s showing some football acumen, and confounding his critics.
      There is no reason that England can’t go on and win the thing, though it’s going to be tougher against the Danes, and if we succeed there, tougher again vs the winners of the Spain/Italy game.
      It’s definitely served up some much needed cheer. 👍898

      • T

        Reply posted by The Boot Room, today at 01:57

        "We’ve grown into this competition, and whilst Southgate has come in for some stick, he’s showing some football acumen, and confounding his critics. There is no reason that England can’t go on and win the thing, though it’s going to be tougher against the Danes, and if we succeed there, tougher again vs the winners of the Spain/Italy game. It’s definitely served up some much needed cheer. 👍"The Boot Room replied: You’re right. I had my doubts about his ability to tactically overcome better opposition. However, he’s proved me wrong. On top of that, he’s plays multiple systems that the players seem to benefit from. The unpredictability of what system we will play mustn’t sit well with the opposition!552

      More replies (7)

    • T

      Comment posted by TheRawcs, today at 00:46

      Proud of them…The pathetic haters of England & Southgate must be hating this Tournament..Long may it continue..Go on England9217

      • Removed comment

      More replies (14)

    • M

      Comment posted by MJF_dodo, today at 00:48

      May as well enjoy it and be positive. These chances don’t come around that often; although, they seem to be a bit more regular under Southgate.764

      • F

        Reply posted by Fan Of Whoever Plays Man Utd, today at 02:42

        "May as well enjoy it and be positive. These chances don’t come around that often; although, they seem to be a bit more regular under Southgate."Fan Of Whoever Plays Man Utd replied: Could England become the 1st team to win the tournament without conceding a single goal?
        Highly unlikely, but you never know……..5611

      More replies (6)

    • O

      Comment posted by OliverDMcCall, today at 01:17

      All the Scots will be tearing down their Ukraine flags and replacing them with Denmark flags now 😂708

      • C

        Reply posted by CoffeeFueledCurmudgeon, today at 05:09

        "All the Scots will be tearing down their Ukraine flags and replacing them with Denmark flags now 😂"CoffeeFueledCurmudgeon replied: Not as if we weren’t cheering on the Czechs and Croats though. Let’s be honest about it.1412

      More replies (4)

    • D

      Comment posted by DavidGedge, today at 01:10

      I hold my hands up….I didn’t expect this before the tournament started. So hope I get proved a complete fool when we lift the trophy on Sunday614

      • Removed comment

      More replies (3)

    • D

      Comment posted by drama docu, today at 00:47

      I’ve criticised a lot of decisions gareth has made especially after the first couple of games thinking we had no chance playing like that. Still not scintillating football but improving each game so thank you Gareth for making me believe again6712

      • D

        Reply posted by Dallas Cowboys Liverpool FC, today at 02:41

        "I’ve criticised a lot of decisions gareth has made especially after the first couple of games thinking we had no chance playing like that. Still not scintillating football but improving each game so thank you Gareth for making me believe again"Dallas Cowboys Liverpool FC replied: Looks like, England is finally on the march. This could really be their year, if they keep this up.216

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    • T

      Comment posted by The miracle of Bristanbul, today at 00:41

      This is a great team that’s being built at the moment.

      Sterling is pulling the strings, Shaw is putting in great performances and now Kane is scoring.

      Sancho looked the real deal today and the defence is looking solid.

      Let’s get behind them!6611

      • V

        Reply posted by Vostok 1, today at 02:14

        "This is a great team that’s being built at the moment. Sterling is pulling the strings, Shaw is putting in great performances and now Kane is scoring. Sancho looked the real deal today and the defence is looking solid.Let’s get behind them!"Vostok 1 replied: Sterling’s first touch and form in general has improved beyond anything I expected. Things can turn quickly for top sportsmen, I suppose.252

      More replies (13)

    • G

      Comment posted by GreatCharacter, today at 00:48

      It felt absolutely amazing when that second goal went in.

      I was apprehensive about Ukraine, and feel even more so about Denmark. But one thing is clear– these players seem extremely calm, well ordered, and together.

      I’m only 27 but am very jealous of the children who get to enjoy this great wave of happiness. It is because I am 27, English, that this isn’t over yet. C’MON ENGLAND!404

      • R

        Reply posted by Redgringrumble, today at 01:48

        "It felt absolutely amazing when that second goal went in.I was apprehensive about Ukraine, and feel even more so about Denmark. But one thing is clear– these players seem extremely calm, well ordered, and together. I’m only 27 but am very jealous of the children who get to enjoy this great wave of happiness. It is because I am 27, English, that this isn’t over yet. C’MON ENGLAND!"Redgringrumble replied: I wish I was 27 again so I could celebrate more! Denmark will be tough but this team is getting better and better. ENGLAND for the trophy. Get one home boys204

      More replies (3)

    • S

      Comment posted by shrimper, today at 01:47

      Who designed that “How are you feeling” question? Why is -3 “extremely positive” and +3 is “I don’t care”? That’s intuitively the opposite of what you’d expect the numbers to mean.311

      • A

        Reply posted by ADKL, today at 05:04

        "Who designed that “How are you feeling” question? Why is -3 “extremely positive” and +3 is “I don’t care”? That’s intuitively the opposite of what you’d expect the numbers to mean."ADKL replied: It’s there to check whether you are paying attention to the question, and your answer… nearly had me fooled as well until I had another look at the statements…30

    • J

      Comment posted by Jay, today at 00:59

      Southgates plan is working like clockwork. He studied the style of past tournament winners, many had a solid defensive line/formation, but created enough sparks of quality to get the job done. 5 games – no goals conceded, 8 goals scored.

      Plus his management skills on/off the pitch seems so calm & collected, which the whole squad is chimming to. Well done Gareth.356

      • Z

        Reply posted by Zoomy, today at 01:50

        "Southgates plan is working like clockwork. He studied the style of past tournament winners, many had a solid defensive line/formation, but created enough sparks of quality to get the job done. 5 games – no goals conceded, 8 goals scored. Plus his management skills on/off the pitch seems so calm & collected, which the whole squad is chimming to. Well done Gareth."Zoomy replied: Just glad he’s being a bit less conservative now the players are warmed up. Southgate and the team are growing into the tournament.121

      More replies (4)

    • M

      Comment posted by More Like It, today at 00:41

      Gareth Southgate is the first England manager ever to lead England to two sucessive major semis. add to that the Euro Nations semi, I think he knows what he is doing.

      Time to show more respect.5023

      • I

        Reply posted by III3III, today at 00:53

        "Gareth Southgate is the first England manager ever to lead England to two sucessive major semis. add to that the Euro Nations semi, I think he knows what he is doing.Time to show more respect."III3III replied: Not true, Alf Ramsey got England to (and past) the semis at World Cup 66 and then reached the semis again at Euro 68509

      More replies (12)

    • L

      Comment posted by LeeH, today at 01:15

      I hope the English hating Scottish and Welsh fans enjoyed that game and our overall performances to reach this stage? A young and inexperienced pride of English Lions showing the World how it should be done.
      As a nation, we are so proud.3510

      • S

        Reply posted by sevenyears, today at 01:55

        "I hope the English hating Scottish and Welsh fans enjoyed that game and our overall performances to reach this stage? A young and inexperienced pride of English Lions showing the World how it should be done. As a nation, we are so proud."sevenyears replied: Italy . Simple.636

      More replies (5)

    • P

      Comment posted by pompey dave, today at 00:54

      No reason to doubt it , but football is never predictable . We have a squad of good young players with a variety of talents and a manager who has organised them into a flexible unit capable of adjusting to games and can score goals .The only other side left who can match us on that are Italy , Spain and Denmark are dangerous opponents and shouldn’t be discounted but we have all the assets to win.242

    • I

      Comment posted by Imrebanana, today at 01:09

      Harry Kane loves shoving criticism back down peoples throats including mine….looked really poor in the opening few games but knows he has the backing from the gaffer.

      We got this.265

    • J

      Comment posted by Joris Bonson, today at 00:56

      Good luck England, the players have what it takes to go all the way243

      • S

        Reply posted by Specialist_in_tailoring, today at 02:02

        "Good luck England, the players have what it takes to go all the way"Specialist_in_tailoring replied: England vs Italy is my prediction for the final.

        A proper test but starting to believe Football’s indeed coming home123

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