The England boss led his side to their first major final in 55 years by defeating Denmark in extra time
Gareth Southgate has jokingly told two of his young players that reaching the final of a major tournament, as England did on Wednesday, is not normally what happens for the Three Lions.
England reached their first major final in 55 years by defeating Denmark 2-1 after extra time at Wembley, with Harry Kane’s controversial winner booking a spot against Italy in the final on Sunday.
The victory helped banish some painful semi-final memories for England, including a loss to Germany at Euro 96 and defeat to Croatia at World Cup 2018.
What was said?
“I’ve just had to tell [Bukayo] Saka and [Jude] Bellingham it doesn’t normally work like this!” Southgate told ITV of his teenage duo.
“I’m so proud of the players. It’s an incredible occasion to be a part of, the fans were incredible all night. It wasn’t going to be straightforward. The game the other night in Rome was, but we told the players that they would have to show resilience and come back from some setbacks, and we did that tonight.
“When you have waited as long as we have to get through a semi-final, given the limited amount of international experience some of the players have, they have done an incredible job.
“The most pleasing thing is that we’ve given our fans and nation a fantastic night, and the journey carries on for another four days. For the team to come through this sort of a night, we suffered in Moscow on a night like this [against Croatia in 2018], we managed to put that right.”
“We’re in a final, we’ve got to enjoy that fact, but there is one more massive hurdle to try and conquer. Italy are a very good side, they have really shown outstanding form, have defensive warriors at the back, it’s going to be a great game to look forward to.”
What’s next for England?
With Wednesday’s win, England are into their first major final since the 1966 World Cup, which they won on home soil by defeating West Germany.
England will also be at home for the Euro 2020 final, as they will face Italy at Wembley on Sunday.
The Italians booked their place in the final by overcoming Spain in a penalty shootout in their semi-final on Tuesday.