Southgate says England felt welcome in Russian Federation despite tensions

Monday, 16 Jul, 2018

"We've finished in the final four, but we are not a top-four team yet". It's about the team, and the group of staff and the fans.

"The downside was it took them another eight years to win (the World Cup)".

Southgate suggested Phil Jones, who played both games against Belgium in Russian Federation, had a long-term future within the set-up but suggested Gary Cahill, at 32, may play less of a role after an worldwide career that has spanned eight years, four permanent managers and 61 caps.

"But on a personal level, and mixing with the people of Russian Federation, we couldn't have been made more welcome".

"It's a really hard challenge for both teams to pick themselves up and go again", Southgate said.

Gareth Southgate's side surpassed expectations by reaching the semi-finals of the tournament in Russian Federation. But, also, the feeling that playing for England could be enjoyable, that tournaments are there to be "attacked" and that there was nothing to fear.

"And they should be proud of themselves because they've achieved an equal high in terms of tournament performance that any English team that's has to come overseas for a tournament has achieved".

"It is certainly one of the factors that contributed ... that drove him to become one of the best in the world", said Marijan Buljat, who trained and played with the now captain of Croatia. There are great opportunities for us to develop, to improve, to. look at players. "I'm so proud of them". "We ask you not to come to the site".

"We were 20 minutes from a World Cup final - that is going to live with me forever, there is no doubt about that".

But he said: "I don't want to think about myself at the moment, because we are a team".

"We know that this is the biggest game of our lives, and we want to leave the pitch with our heads held high and to be able to say we've done everything". We will play against big players, world class players. It will be a hard match, it's a World Cup final. A lot of that is down to Southgate, who had experience of big tournaments but also did his homework on his squad and had everything in place for their stay in Russian Federation.

Ashworth, however, believes that England can take hope from their progress to the semi-finals, prevailing in a penalty shoot out for the first time in World Cup history and winning two knockout matches, when they had only won three such games in all tournaments since 1990.

"I think it would be wrong to judge any player on today's game if their energy levels were short".

"I would definitely leave my football boots behind on Monday if that was the price I had to pay to win for my country, to win for Croatia", said Rakitic, according to Telegraph Sport. We have this togetherness, this unique unity - not just in football.

He said "We have to focus on the game".