Gareth Southgate reveals message to England players after World Cup heartache

After defeat to France, Southgate also refused to commit his future to England, despite a contract running to Euro 2024

Jack Rathborn
Saturday 10 December 2022 21:40 GMT
England fans react to Harry Kane's two penalties against France

Gareth Southgate delivered a positive message to his beaten England players after their World Cup exit at the hands of France in the quarter-finals.

Olivier Giroud hit the winner for the world champions, with Harry Kane missing a second spot kick to pull England level at Al Bayt Stadium.

Southgate insists England could not have done any more, while also detailing the immediate conversation with his heartbroken squad in the changing room at full-time.

“I think our performance did [deserve more], but goals are decisive,” Southgate told ITV. “But I just said to the players, I don’t think they could have done any more, I thought they played well against a top team, but it’s fine margins.

“I thought the way this group progressed throughout the tournament was fantastic. It’s pointless me going into that [about the referee], I’d rather talk about my players.

“Congrats to France, they know they’ve been in a game. I don’t think we could’ve done any more.

“It’s, for me, we win and lose as a team. We’ve missed a few chances. He [Kane] is so reliable in those situations, we wouldn’t be here but for him.

“I think in key moments, we are playing in a high-level game, there will be chances created, we were in the right places, we had more shots on goal. It’s fine margins.”

With Morocco waiting in the semi-finals, Southgate conceded the exit stung and represented a missed opportunity.

“Yes,” Southgate added when asked if England had passed up a great chance to win a second World Cup. “We were here to try and win the tournament, we thought we could, with this performance against the world champions, we could’ve done that.”

And Southgate then refused to commit his future to England, despite a contract running to Euro 2024.

“After every tournament, we’ve sat and reviewed and reflected,” he concluded. “That needs a bit of time so everybody makes the right decisions.”

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