MX23RW : Saturday, February 23 19:55:04

Gareth Southgate: 'England must play with pride in third-place playoff'

Southgate urges England to bounce back
© Reuters
England manager Gareth Southgate urges his side to pick themselves up and "play with pride" in their third-place playoff against Belgium following their semi-final loss.

England manager Gareth Southgate has urged his side to finish their World Cup on a high when they take on Belgium in the third-place playoff on Saturday afternoon.

The Three Lions fell to a heartbreaking extra-time defeat at the hands of Croatia in their semi-final last night, bringing an end to their unexpected run at this summer's tournament in Russia.

Southgate acknowledged that no-one wants to play in a third-place playoff, but is hopeful that his squad can pick themselves back up and "play with pride" against a team that beat them in the group stages of the competition.

"The honest thing is it's not a game any team wants to play in. We have two days to prepare. We will want to give a performance of huge pride. There's no question about that. It's always there every time we wear the shirt of our national team, we want to play with pride, we want to play well and win," Southgate told reporters.

"Of course it is going to be a really difficult task over the next 24 hours to assess everybody and to get everybody mentally back to where we want them for a game like that. But that will be the challenge. I think it is too easy to move on immediately from what we've just been through.

"But we will do that and we'll make sure we are ready as a group to go again because the group have huge pride in their performances, in the way that they work. And we have made such strides with our supporters and our public that we want to continue to do that."

Should England beat Belgium then it would make for their second-best showing at a World Cup, behind only 1966.


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