ST. PETERSBURG, July 13 (Sputnik) - England head coach Gareth Southgate said on Friday that, after the team reached the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1990, his charges could finally enjoy playing for the Three Lions instead of feeling "under siege."
England lost 2-1 to Croatia on Wednesday and will face Belgium in the third place play-off in St. Petersburg on Saturday.
“We are here to try to improve every time we play and every time we are going to the tournament... We’ve raised expectations, I don’t see a problem with that, because we’ve also raised belief in the players. We’ve raised their enjoyment of playing and they can now associate playing with England with enjoyment, fun and not being under siege and feeling that everything is against them,” Southgate told journalists.
The 47-year-old specialist added that he and the team could feel the “immense” support from their country and that “England was united behind football”, which might be even “more important than their performance” at the tournament.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off on June 14 with the final showdown between France and Croatia set to take place at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday.