Gareth Southgate not ready for England’s World Cup journey to end

Tuesday 03 Jul 2018
Gareth Southgate has led England to the quarter finals of Russia 2018

Not satisfied with England breaking record after record at Russia 2018, Gareth Southgate has now challenged his side to reach their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years.

The Three Lions defeated Colombia on penalties to seal a place in the last eight, where they will face Sweden on Saturday afternoon (3pm BST).

It was England’s maiden spot-kick success at a World Cup, following failed attempts in 1990, 1998 and 2006.

Colombia 1-1 England
  • England won 4-3 on penalties
  • FIFA World Cup
  • Round of 16
  • Tuesday 3 July 2018
  • Moscow, Russia
Southgate’s young squad had already clocked up their biggest-ever win at the tournament – the 6-1 thrashing of Panama – while captain Harry Kane became the first ‘Lion’ to score five goals in the group stages.

But rather than revel in a night of high drama, the manager has immediately set his sights on the Scandinavians.

Southgate said: “Of course it’s a special moment but I’m now thinking about Sweden.

“Sweden are another team we have a poor record against. We have underestimated them for years. They are brilliant at what they do. We know exactly how they play and it’s going to be a real tough test.

“I want us to go on.”

Kane scored a second-half spot-kick after he was dragged to the floor by former Aston Villa midfielder Carlos Sanchez.

And that goal looked to be enough – until Yerry Mina’s 93rd-minute equaliser forced extra-time and penalties.

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford saved Carlos Bacca’s effort and Eric Dier stepped up to slot England into their first World Cup quarter final since 2006.

Pickford celebrates after saving from Bacca

Southgate said: “It’s fantastic, and deserved as well.

“I thought we played so well in the 90 minutes. We showed incredible resilience to come back from the huge disappointment [of conceding] on the final whistle.

“Huge credit to the players and every member of staff because so much effort has gone into winning the way we did.

“We talked long and hard about owning the process. Great credit to our staff and the players who have taken everything on board. We got the reward tonight.”

Delight for the Three Lions

England had to deal with Colombia’s physical approach – the South Americans had six players carded – and Southgate was delighted with how his charges remained calm in the face of such adversity.

He said: “We didn’t rise to it which was brilliant. We lost our cool a couple of times but generally speaking we kept our nerve.

“Our fans that were here were brilliant but it was almost like an away game for us, so to deal with all of that was exceptional.

“It’s something [the players] can all look back on and draw on as an experience.

“We talked about creating our own stories and creating our own history, and we’ve done a little bit of that tonight.

“We go on to the quarter final, but I don’t want to go home yet.”

Watch England’s quarter final against Sweden live on BBC One or BBC Online.

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By Glenn Lavery