‘We left everything out there’, says England manager Southgate

England head coach Gareth Southgate, comforts his players after their World Cup exit. (AFP)
Updated 12 July 2018
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‘We left everything out there’, says England manager Southgate

  • England rue the fact they did not cash in on first-half dominance
  • 'We have to be proud of what we’ve achieved.'

MOSCOW: Manager Gareth Southgate said England “left everything out there” after falling to an extra-time defeat by Croatia in the World Cup semifinal on Wednesday.
England were hoping to reach a first World Cup final since 1966, but let an early lead slip to lose 2-1.
“I think in the first half we were really good and maybe we could have got another goal,” Southgate told ITV.
“I can’t ask for more from the players. I think knockout football is about fine margins and when you have good spells against fine sides you need to take your chances.
“Tonight we weren’t quite there but we will learn from that. We left everything out there.”
Southgate said the players were deeply disappointed, but that his young team could achieve great things in the years to come, with the European Championship just two years away.
“It’s impossible to say anything to make the players feel better at this moment in time,” he said.
“We have to be proud of what we’ve achieved. I don’t think anyone could have given any more.
“Players had run out of steam but that’s partly their age — they’re still physically maturing. Croatia have hardened warriors whose understanding of big matches at times came to the fore.
“The players have to go through big matches and experiences to become a team that can win. They have to use this experience for benefit and I know that what’s happened over the last few weeks will make them a stronger team.”


Harry Kane looks set to claim the Golden Boot as the World Cup’s leading scorer, but the Tottenham star rarely looked like adding to his six goals against Croatia.
“I think he’s given absolutely everything for the team,” Southgate said of the 24-year-old England captain.
“I think now is the time for us to be strong as a group and take the time to reflect on the performance a little bit over the next couple of days.
“He’s captained the team brilliantly over the tournament and I can’t ask for more from him.”
It was England’s best performance at a major tournament since Southgate was part of the team that reached the semifinals at Euro ‘96.
England arrived at this World Cup with the least experienced squad in terms of caps, but Southgate said the agony of losing was just as strong despite surpassing limited expectations.
“We all feel the pain of the defeat. Did we expect to be in this position? I don’t think realistically any of us did,” he said.
“But when you’ve got to this point, and we’ve played as well as we have, you want to take those opportunities in life.”
“There will in time be a lot of positives to take,” he added. “It’s very hard to put that into context and a bit too soon really, because I think you have to suffer the result a little bit. It’s too easy to move on quickly.”
England will return to their Repino base near Saint Petersburg ahead of Saturday’s third place play-off against Belgium, a repeat of their final group match.
“The honest thing is it’s not a game any team wants to play,” Southgate admitted. “We have two days to prepare and we’ll want to give a performance of huge pride.
“Of course it’s going to be a really difficult task over the next 24 hours to get everyone mentally back to where we want them for a game like that. That will be the challenge.”


Manchester City boss Guardiola gives Tommy Fleetwood a Pep talk ahead of Ryder Cup

Updated 25 September 2018
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Manchester City boss Guardiola gives Tommy Fleetwood a Pep talk ahead of Ryder Cup

  • World No.11 receives special message from Spaniard ahead of Europe's clash against the US
  • Fleetwood to make his Ryder Cup debut in Paris this week.

PARIS: Ryder Cup rookie Tommy Fleetwood will hope a message of motivation from Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola can spur him on to success for Europe in Paris this week.
Fleetwood, introduced to Guardiola through a mutual friend, was on a Cheshire golf course with the City boss in April when his side were crowned Premier League champions following Manchester United’s defeat by West Brom.
The pair then struck up a partnership at Wentworth for the celebrity Pro-Am event ahead of the BMW PGA Championship in May, and Guardiola has shown his support for Fleetwood ahead of this week’s showdown with the US.
“We all have these videos in the room, these motivational videos, and he was one of the guys that sent a message to me,” Fleetwood said.
“I’m not sure he’s coming over. I’m sure he’s busy at the weekend but he might make it over. But yeah, we always talk quite a lot.
“He’s somebody that’s great to know.”
Guardiola gushed about his first-hand Ryder Cup experience as a fan at the 2012 edition in Medinah, when Europe pulled off a remarkable final-day comeback to stun the Americans on their home patch.
The Spaniard, then on a 12-month sabbatical after leaving his post at Barcelona, was invited to the tournament as a guest of European captain Jose Maria Olazabal.
“He was at the Ryder Cup in Medinah, and he’ll always mention that that’s one of the greatest times he’s had in his life being at that Ryder Cup,” said Fleetwood.
“Yeah, it was a very special time. It has a special place in his heart, the Ryder Cup, and he’s been very supportive through the whole thing.
“Maybe we’ll see him, I don’t know.”
City are due to host Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday, not ruling out the possibility of Guardiola making an appearance for Sunday’s singles.