Southgate to make ‘as few changes as possible’ for Belgium

Southgate to make ‘as few changes as possible’ for Belgium

Saint Petersburg, Jul 13 England manager Gareth Southgate hopes his team can ride the momentum generated by their run to the World Cup semi-finals and follow the path Germany took to the top of worldwide football.

Croatia have gone to extra-time in all three of their knockout matches, triumphing on penalties against Denmark and hosts Russian Federation before edging past England 2-1 in the semi-final.

"We'll finish as one of the top four teams in the world but we're not ranked there".

With a team featuring Davor Suker, Zvonimir Boban and Robert Prosinecki wearing blue shirts with a distinctive red and white chequerboard pattern, they beat World Cup giants Germany 3-0 in the quarter-final in France, sparking delirium at home.

But they couldn't score, meaning Croatia won 2-1 to take them into Sunday's final against France.

"We'll want to give a performance of huge pride, there's no question about that", said Southgate.

"If you want to play for England you have to cope with that". I can see what we have achieved.

"But we do it for ourselves as well".

He said: 'I don't think people fully understood the players (previously).

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"So there's a lot of motivation for us and of course Belgium have beaten us once already, so we'd like to redress that as well".

"We got back to St Petersburg at 6.30am on the day after the game, so it has been an emotion-filled few days but the players are incredible".

"There were no negotiations, I just accepted it because my life's dream was always to coach my national team", Dalic said of his appointment.

Captain Harry Kane will be among the more interesting selection decisions, given the sharpshooter is gunning for the Golden Boot. "We want to try [to] finish on a high on Saturday and if given the chance, I'll relish it and enjoy it".

Croatia, who had also defeated the Germans in the 1998 World Cup quarter-final, scored first thanks to Darijo Srna steered past Jens Lehmann.

For Belgium and their "Golden Generation", numerous key players should return for the 2022 World Cup, even if Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen will probably be gone by then.

"If we had a parade, that would have been one part of the country".

"So they haven't felt what the nation really getting excited about the team feels like".

The squad went through a very light session in Moscow this afternoon where the players mainly stretched and worked some simple drills.

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