In the semifinals between Germany and England, it was also at Wembley in front of 75,862 spectators after a 1-1 penalty shoot-out after extra time. All players met up to 5: 5. Then Southgate failed with his penalty against DFB goalie Andreas Köpke. Andreas Möller met and promoted Germany to the final. The dream of an entire nation was over. For Southgate it turned out to be a day he could not forget to this day. “This will always hurt me,” Southgate said recently.
“Gareth, you don’t have to apologize to us for the 1996 European Championship. Let go. We’re so proud of you, ”wrote England striker legend Alan Shearer in a column for The Athletic sports portal. Southgate was delighted with the emotional words from his former teammate. But the encouragement is not enough for him. He would like to finally wipe this day from his memory with the European title.
Semi-finals “only next challenge”
First of all, it is important to overcome the Danes in the semi-finals on Wednesday (9 p.m., live on ORF1). The Scandinavians should only be an intermediate step to the title for the “Three Lions”. “We have been so unlucky in the past and have jumped a lot of hurdles, and I have the feeling that this is just the next challenge,” said the 50-year-old. “We’re not satisfied with being in the semi-finals.”
Three years ago at the World Cup in Russia, when the English were eliminated in the semi-finals against Croatia with a 2-1 defeat after extra time, things were a little different, according to Southgate: “Although we were of course extremely disappointed after the semi-finals, we had also the feeling that we have made it far. “
“We improved with every game at this European Championship. And I believe we can get even better. And we will too, ”said England’s chief defense officer Harry Maguire. The team is better than it was at the World Cup three years ago. “We are more experienced. The defeat against Croatia also helped us, we learned from it, ”said the Manchester United player.
“England is back in fashion thanks to Southgate”
It took Southgate almost four years to completely turn the often complicated relationship between fans and national team. “Our nation of heroes,” headlined the Daily Mail on Monday to photos of national players Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane. Southgate was viewed critically even at the beginning of the European Championship because his team did not whirl through the preliminary round despite numerous offensive stars, but delivered dry results football.
“Giving people so much joy, giving them hope, is one of the privileges of our job,” said Southgate. It’s a typical sentence from him. The former defender has managed to unite a divided nation behind their most important team. “Thanks to Southgate, England is back in fashion,” wrote The Times newspaper on Monday. And should the “Three Lions” actually win the title, June 26, 1996 will be just a side note in Southgate’s memory.