The Evolution of England’s Euro 2024 Journey Under Gareth Southgate

As England prepares to face the Netherlands in the Euro 2024 semi-final in Dortmund, manager Gareth Southgate reflects on the journey that has brought them to this point. Despite entering the tournament as one of the pre-tournament favorites, England struggled to live up to expectations in the earlier stages, requiring extra-time and penalties to advance in the knockout phase. Southgate acknowledges the challenges the team faced, particularly in dealing with external pressure and expectations.

Southgate admits that the team struggled to find their rhythm in the early stages of Euro 2024, with the weight of expectation and external noise affecting their performance. However, as the tournament progressed, he saw a noticeable shift in the team’s mentality. Players began to embrace the opportunity to make history and focus on what they could achieve, rather than what could go wrong. This change in mindset has allowed England to produce better performances and play with more freedom on the pitch.

One of the key factors in England’s improved performance has been the team bonding exercises implemented by Southgate. He describes how singer Ed Sheeran performed a 30-minute acoustic set for the players, and the team was allowed to consume alcohol before a crucial game. According to Southgate, these activities helped the players bond and create a strong team spirit, which has been vital in their success so far. However, he also emphasizes that the ultimate test of team spirit comes during high-pressure moments on the field.

Despite concerns over the appointment of referee Felix Zwayer for the semi-final, Southgate expresses confidence in the officiating team selected by UEFA. Zwayer had faced criticism in the past for a match-fixing conviction, but Southgate emphasizes the importance of respecting referees and upholding the integrity of the game. He trusts that UEFA has chosen referees of the highest standard for crucial matches like the semi-final, and he sees no reason to doubt their decisions.

Southgate hints at the possibility of Luke Shaw starting in the semi-final against the Netherlands, marking the defender’s first start for club or country since February. Shaw recently recovered from a hamstring injury and made a brief appearance in the quarter-final against Switzerland. Southgate praises Shaw’s return to fitness and adds depth to England’s squad as they prepare for the crucial match.

Gareth Southgate’s leadership and the resilience of the England team have transformed their Euro 2024 journey from a shaky start to a historic opportunity. The mental shift, team bonding activities, trust in officiating decisions, and return of key players all contribute to England’s chances of reaching their first major final on foreign soil. As they face the Netherlands in the semi-final, England carries the weight of expectations but also the belief that they can make history and achieve their goals.


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