Gareth Southgate's young Lions came of age in Russia

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 12 July 2018, 09:46

There will be no first World Cup Final since the glory days of 1966, but Gareth Southgate’s England can look back on a cracking campaign during which they completely defied expectations, inspired a previously deflated nation, and reached the last-4 for only the third time in the country’s history.

Former Middlesbrough manager Southgate, in his first major tournament in charge, had the second youngest squad at the World Cup, but it’s fair to say that his youthful Lions unshackled the fear factor that has plagued many an England team, and in turn came of age in Russia.

“I’m remarkably proud of a group of players who have really advanced, and no one could have given any more,” said Southgate.

“The way they’ve represented their country has been exemplary. They have to go through big-match experiences to become a team that can win.

“If you look at every other nation who has had success, they’ve got to semi-finals and not got across the line first time.

“They have to use the experience for their own benefit: not just tonight’s, but all the experiences over the last few weeks that will and have made them a stronger team.”

The England squad will currently be drenched in disappointment following the heartbreaking extra-time defeat to Croatia, but they do still have the chance to leave Russia on a high when they face Belgium in the third-place play-off in Saint Petersburg.

"It's not a game any team wants to play in," said Southgate.

"We have two days to prepare. We will want to give a performance of huge pride.

"Every time we wear the shirt we want to play well and win. It's going to be a really difficult task. We've made such strides with our supporters and public that we want to continue to do that."

Belgium head into the match as the 6/5 favourites to win in normal time, with England priced at 21/20, whereas a draw can be found at 13/5 (Paddy Power).

sackrace

Managers Departed

Last man down

Michael Collins
Michael Collins
(Bradford City)
3rd September
VIEW ALL CASUALTIES

Premier League

Next Manager to Leave

Arsenal

Next Manager Odds

England

Next Manager Odds

Leicester City

Next Manager Odds

Manchester United

Next Manager Odds

Newcastle United

Next Manager Odds

Republic of Ireland

Next Manager Odds

Southampton

Next Manager Odds
x
New Customer Offer: 60/1 Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool & Spurs all to win

Coral are now offering new customers enhanced odds of 60/1 on Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Spurs all to win in this weekend.

18+ UK+IRE players signing up via promo page. Min deposit £5. Paypal & some deposit methods excl. Paid in cash at normal price. Enhanced odds paid in £5 free bets within 24 hrs, valid for 4 days, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.

BET HERE
We use cookies to provide statistics that help give you the best experience of our site. By continuing to use the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more
Got It