GARETH SOUTHGATE SAYS A CHANGE IN MINDSET - AND A FEW BEERS - HAS HELPED ENGLAND PLAY MORE FREELY AS THEY LOOK TO BEAT NETHERLANDS AND REACH EURO FINAL

  • England beat Switzerland after Gareth Southgate treated his team to a beer
  • Beating the Netherlands would see England reach a first final away from home
  • LISTEN to It's All Kicking Off! EUROS DAILY: Should we trust England's referee against the Netherlands after his 'match-fixing' conviction? 

Gareth Southgate says there has been a shift in England's mindset ahead of their semi-final with Netherlands, after revealing his players were 'weighed down' by expectation and external noise earlier in the tournament.

Success here in Dortmund on Wednesday night would put the Three Lions in the final of a major tournament for the first time overseas. Their passage to the last four has not been easy, and their 1-0 win over Serbia in the opening group match remains their only victory inside normal time.

There has been stinging criticism and fierce debate around the team and its below-par performances, but Southgate senses a change in mood among his squad.

'There has been a definite shift (in mindset since start of tournament),' he said. 'Sometimes, as a coach, you take a step back and observe. One of our strengths over the past seven or eight years has been less fear and less inhibition.

'But I think at the beginning of the tournament the expectation weighed quite heavily. The external noise was louder than it's ever been. We couldn't quite get ourselves in the right place.'

'What was impressive in the end was that we ground it out and found ways to win. I thought that shifted against the Swiss, you saw a freer version of us on the ball. Now it's that moment in the tournament where it's about what is possible and not what might go wrong. This now is the chance to make history by making the first final outside of England.'

Southgate also revealed that his players were allowed a beer ahead of the quarter-final tie with Switzerland, but insists there is no substitute for building camaraderie on the pitch.

'We had Ed Sheeran in to sing and that was great, and the players had a couple of beers before the last game,' he said. 'You can bond in that way. But when you're having to head the ball out your box in the 92nd minute or having to find a goal in the 96th minute, there is nothing stronger than that for building the spirit of the team.'

Meanwhile, Harry Kane appeared to confirm he will start against the Dutch. There have been some calls for the captain to be dropped after a string of poor displays.

However, speaking alongside Southgate at Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday night, the striker said: 'There will be times tomorrow where I'll need to be more of a focal point and in the box more and there will be times where I drop deep and try to make it uncomfortable for defenders in situations they don't want to be in.

'As the striker you want to give as much space as possible to the midfielders, but then there's times you want to drag defenders into spaces they might not want to come either. I try to see how the game evolves, what the team needs from me, and exploit those situations.'

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2024-07-09T19:44:59Z dg43tfdfdgfd