‘I told the players we could beat France’ – Gareth Southgate reflects on England’s World Cup defeat to France

In an interview with L’Équipe, England manager Gareth Southgate has revealed what he told his players ahead of their quarter-final defeat to France at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

After victories in the Round of 16, England and France were drawn against each other in the quarter-finals of the competition in which many believed to be the closest game to call of the round. Eventually, France emerged victorious from the tie with a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Aurélien Tchouaméni and Olivier Giroud. 

Les Bleus took the lead in the game twice only for England captain Harry Kane to miss a second penalty which all but confirmed France’s place in the semi-finals and sent the Three Lions home. The encounter offered a close battle between the two teams who are now the bookies’ favourites to win EURO 2024.  

‘I thought we could win’ 

Reflecting on the defeat against Les Bleus in 2022, Southgate said, “It’s a match from which we learned a lot, especially about details that were not in our favour. We conceded two goals that we could have avoided and, in the offensive phase, there were situations that we should have exploited better. But overall, our overall performance had been good, in many areas. Before the match, I said to the players: If we had faced France in 2018, I would have hoped that we would win, but I wasn’t sure that we could. But today, we can win.”

GFFN | Liam Wraith

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