Gareth Southgate reveals ‘concern’ over England players for Euro 2024 final vs Spain

England head coach Gareth Southgate hugs Cole Palmer after winning the UEFA EURO 2024 semi-finals soccer match between Netherlands and England

Gareth Southgate has guided England to back-to-back finals in the European Championship (EPA)

Gareth Southgate admits England having fewer rest days than Spain ahead of the Euro 2024 final is a ‘concern’.

England have reached successive finals of the European Championship for the first time in history following their 2-1 win over the Netherlands in the semi final on Wednesday evening.

The Three Lions were forced to battle back from going a goal down as Xavi Simons’ excellent long-range strike gave the Netherlands an early lead. England were then handed a controversial penalty decision which allowed Harry Kane to equalise from the spot, while substitute Ollie Watkins became the latest hero for Southgate’s side as he struck the winner in the 90th minute with extra time looming.

Spain also came from behind to beat France with a 2-1 win in their semi final on Tuesday night and Southgate concedes that La Roja having 24 hours extra to recover and prepare for Sunday’s final is a ‘problem’ for England.

Asked if England prefer to play against more attacking sides like Spain after the win against the Netherlands, Southgate said: ‘Well, we’ll have to get the ball off them first.

‘It’s not as simple as us having the ball and making them run, they press very, very well so we’re going to have to be exceptional with the ball and we’re going to have to be exceptional without it.

Ollie Watkins struck late to seal England’s 2-1 win against the Netherlands (Getty)

‘But it’s a final, you expect it to be that way here. They [Spain] have been the best team. We’re starting to show a better version of ourselves.

‘The extra day is a concern. In the last few tournaments that has been a problem for finalists so we’ve got to do the very best we can to recover the players as well as we can.

‘But we’re not going to be on the training ground, it’s simple, we’re going to be walking through things or delivering things in meetings, which is the same for this game.

‘But we’re in there and with what we’ve shown to this point we have as good a chance as they do.’

Southgate was also asked if he felt reconnected with England’s supporters after he was pelted with beer cups after a goalless draw against Slovenia in the group stage.

‘We all want to be loved, right?’ Southgate said.

‘When you’re doing something for your country and you’re a proud Englishman, and when you don’t feel that back and when all you read is criticism it’s hard.

‘To be able to celebrate a second final is very, very special. Our travelling support is amazing, to be able to give them nights like this, and we have given them a few over the last six years, from Russia onwards, means a lot.

‘If I had been on the grass I’d have been watching, celebrating like they …read more

Source:: Metro


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