Thursday, February 29, 2024

Gareth Southgate rates Euro 2024 draw as England avoid Group of Death

Gareth Southgate has warned England against complacency after landing a favourable draw for the group stage of Euro 2024, though conceded he was pleased to avoid some of the bigger nations.

The Three Lions, beaten finalists at the last tournament, learned their fate at Saturday’s draw in Hamburg and can now begin preparing to take on Denmark, Slovenia and Serbia.

Although the Danes were the highest ranked side in Pot 2, England avoided some massive teams – such as Italy and the Netherlands – from the other pots, as well as other home nations, but Southgate will certainly not be taking Group C lightly.

Speaking to the BBC, Southgate said: ‘Well I’ve stood here after quite a few draws and you always feel the same way. You can look at it on paper but the games aren’t played on paper!

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‘Obviously there’s one or two teams you’re glad to avoid, certainly in some of those Pot 3s and Pot 4s, but all of the teams we play are more than capable.’

He continued: ‘You look at Serbia with a centre-forward like [Aleksandar] Mitrovic and you have to be very careful about assuming things when you see these draws, that’s for certain.

‘Slovenia was one of the first games I had as England manager and I’ll always remember that Joe Hart made a save that day that, if he doesn’t make it, I might not still be England manager!

‘We’re hugely excited to be part of the tournament, we know the expectation at home, we’ve developed a lot as a team in the last few years.

‘We’re used to these big games, so we’re ready for that expectation, and we hope we can give our supporters some more brilliant nights like I hope we have in the last few tournaments.’

Asked if he was pleased to avoid another home nation, he continued: ‘Well they’re brilliant occasions, particularly for the fans, and they’re great games to play in so I was really relaxed about all of it.

On whether England already have a base in mind for the tournament, Southgate added: ‘We’re now able to work all of that out, that’s the beauty of the draw.

‘We now have clear opportunity to study the opposition, we can look at the timing of arriving in Germany because we’ll have the date of the first game. We can now start to nail down where we stay as well. So it just gives you a lot more clarity.’

 

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

 

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