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Gareth Southgate hails England unity ahead of Euro 2024 semi-final

Gareth Southgate hails England unity ahead of Euro 2024 semi-final

Gareth Southgate is pleased with how his England players have pulled together at Euro 2024.

The Three Lions face the Netherlands in the semi-finals on Wednesday (10.07.24) and the coach is delighted with the way the squad has bonded despite lots of external criticism about their play during the tournament.

Southgate said: "There's been a definite shift. One of the strengths of ours over the last seven or eight years has been less fear, less inhibition.

"But I think that at the beginning of the tournament, the expectation weighed quite heavily and of course the external noise was louder than it has ever been.

"I felt we couldn't quite get ourselves in the right place. In the end, what was impressive was that the players ground out results and found ways to win.

"I felt that shifted once we got into the knockout stages and definitely in the quarter-final.

"I felt we saw a better version of us with the ball, freer. I'm not sure any of the messaging changed, but I just felt the group changed."

Southgate thinks the unity in the squad will bear fruit as England attempt to reach a first final at a tournament overseas.

He said: "You're now in that moment in the tournament where it's, 'What's possible? What's achievable?' Rather than, 'What might go wrong?' That's different for a player or athlete.

"This is now a chance to make history, which we've enjoyed doing. It's a chance to get to a first European Championship final not held in England, it's the first time England will have ever done that.

"We are trying to break new ground. That's difficult and it's complicated but the players have responded brilliantly. You can bond over the resilience that has been built."

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