Southgate claims England 'didn't BELIEVE' they could beat France

Gareth Southgate claims his England players ‘didn’t BELIEVE’ they could beat France in the World Cup… as the Three Lions boss defends his decision to give Marcus Rashford only five minutes in the quarter-final defeat

  • Gareth Southgate spoke for the first time since committing his future to England 
  • Southgate questioned whether his side really believed they could beat France 
  • He also insisted that the Three Lions are in a great place to go and win a trophy 

Gareth Southgate has questioned whether his players really believed they could beat France in England’s World Cup quarter-final exit.

The Three Lions were defeated 2-1 by Didier Deschamp’s side in the last eight in Qatar, despite dominating much of the game. 

France’s experience and know-how seemed to come to the fore, with Harry Kane missing a penalty before Olivier Giroud netted a late winner for Les Bleus.

Gareth Southgate has claimed his England players ‘didn’t believe’ they could beat France

And England boss Southgate – speaking for the first time since he committed his future to the Three Lions until at least Euro 2024 – questioned whether his team truly believed they could win the game.

He told ITV: ‘The performance against France has shown the players if they didn’t believe it (they could win) before, which I still wonder whether they truly believed that before the game, but coming off the field they know that is a game they could win and should have won.’

Southgate also defended his tactics and selection choices in that game, with the 52-year-old criticised for only bringing the in-form Marcus Rashford off the bench with five minutes to go.

He explained: ‘I think people are looking at his form post-tournament as much as anything. 

Southgate said the heartbreaking defeat was a game that his side could and should have won

The Three Lions boss also defended his decision to only give Marcus Rashford five minutes

‘Had Marcus played and the result being like that, they’d have been saying Phil Foden should have played, or Jack Grealish, so I’ve got peace with what we did and how we went about it.

‘I also know that’s how the narrative always works after our games.’

Southgate also believes that despite the heartbreak in Qatar, England are in a good position to go on and win a major trophy.

He said: ‘I think we’ve made progress with the team across the years we’ve been in charge, and I’m determined to try and drive the team that next step.

‘I think now we’re in a different landscape to any previous England team I guess, because of the success we’ve had. In our own minds winning is probably the only thing that’s going to fulfil us.’

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