Gareth Southgate addressed the Euro 2020 final defeat in a first meeting with the England squad on Tuesday morning and the message was not to be “swanning around like a team that got to a final”, as the only way to get over it is to now go and win the World Cup final.
The Qatar 2022 qualifying campaign restarts away to Hungary in Budapest on Thursday, just seven weeks after the penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy at Wembley.
Southgate said that the players now have to “reset” in order to successfully build on a positive summer of progress.
“We’ve got to have the humility to embrace that reset button and make sure that, mentally, we’re not just swanning around like a team that got to a final and we’ve got some sort of entitlement,” Southgate said.
“It’s back to the hard work and humility that got us to the final in the first place.”
Euro 2020 inevitably dominated discussion in the build-up to England’s return, and Southgate was asked what his side would have to do to end that.
“We probably need to win a World Cup final,” he added. “Because nothing else is really going to compare to the level of the game we were involved in and the unique circumstance that being involved in a final brings.
“We had two years of having to reflect on a World Cup semi-final and whatever we do in the next 18 months has got to be towards leading us towards, you know, challenging in a World Cup.”
Defender Harry Maguire added that the ambition now is very much to be world champions.
“As a young boy you always dream of being a world champion so individually, yeah, the lads probably are thinking about being world champions as that’s what you dream of when you are a young boy.
“Looking ahead, over a year away, it would be a bit silly when we have so many important games coming up. We have to qualify for the tournament first which is always difficult to qualify for these major tournaments.
“We have to maintain our focus and we are not looking too far ahead. We are looking at tomorrow. It’s going to be a tough game but one that we are looking forward to.”
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