Southgate: Germany's exit has no bearing on England
Jun 29, 2018, 18:41
"I think we talked about momentum shifts in games and we kept pressing to the end, the fans have been fantastic and they understand the most important thing".
In a freakish game, England made eight changes and Belgium nine as two B-teams contested first place in Group G, knowing that topping the group placed the victor in a far tougher half of the draw. I believe we are as good as the contribution of the 23 players.
It nearly seems to have been forgotten that before England should start thinking about the quarter-finals they will have a tie in either Moscow or Rostov against one of the teams from Group H. They will have a clearer idea by the time they kick off against Belgium but, as Southgate spoke, it could be one of Japan, Senegal or Colombia.
He added: "We don't like losing and don't want to lose matches, but the primary objective from the evening we've got.
We tried hard to win, but we never earned the chance to take the lead". Our objective was to qualify from the group and we have done that.
"This was a game we wanted to win but the knockout game is the biggest game for a decade so we needed to make sure our key players were reserved".
"All those calculations weren't something for us but for the press".
"But of course if Belgium wins England will probably get an easier ride in the next round so perhaps it is one of those win-win scenarios". We have earned the right to play in this game. And I think Joachim Loew should take a lion's share of the blame for it.
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Gareth Southgate's exciting squad have found themselves sitting atop their group after two games, but only on fair play points. The 2018 FIFA World Cup group stage will conclude with one of the most highly anticipated games of the tournament.
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