England will face Ukraine in the last eight of Euro 2020 in Rome after beating Germany; Gareth Southgate: "The players were immense, right the way through the team"
Wednesday 30 June 2021 19:15, UK
Gareth Southgate has described England's display in their historic 2-0 win over Germany as "immense" - but warned his players must quickly refocus for their quarter-final.
Despite several anxious moments, most notably when the excellent Jordan Pickford saved from Timo Werner and Kai Havertz either side of half-time, England booked their place in the last eight of Euro 2020 with late goals from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane. The win was England's first over Germany in a knockout game since the 1966 World Cup final.
"The players were immense, right the way through the team," England manager Southgate said after seeing his side cheered to glory by 45,000 supporters. "The fans in the stadium were also incredible.
"I've been in here with a full house and not heard it near the levels heard today, but the energy was incredible in the stadium. To be able to send them home feeling as they do tonight... and you can't beat a bit of 'Sweet Caroline', that's a belter really!
"For those people, after such a difficult year at home, to have that enjoyment we've given them today was very special.
"It didn't need me to say it, but when we got in the dressing room we were talking about Saturday already. Today's been an immense performance but at a cost emotionally and physically. We need to make sure we recover well.
"It's a dangerous moment for us. We have a feeling round the country that we only have to turn up to win the thing now, but it's going to be an immense challenge from here on. The players' feet are on the ground, they should feel confident from the way they've played, but we came here with an intention and we've not achieved that yet.
"To see the second goal in was a really special moment. But we've not achieved what we want to achieve yet. We can look back on a day like today in the future, but I want to get my focus right and look ahead to Saturday."
Reflecting on the technical aspects of the display, Southgate praised his side's composure in the heat of the battle.
"The performance was really important," he said. "We were playing a team with four World Cup winners, a manager who has had an incredible career with Germany. I have huge respect for what he's done.
"We know there have always been questions about us against big teams and we knew Germany, with their experience, would dictate certain parts of the game.
"We will always have passion and heart but we also had brains. We pressed at the right moment, the forwards picked the right moments to go and stay, we found a balance of being brave with the ball and keeping possession in our own half and right moments to go quickly and counter. That was a real step forward for us."
How far that step forward will take England in this competition will be intriguing to see. While Southgate scored a victory against the side he missed a penalty against at Euro 96, there is more work to be done to lift the trophy.
But the manager is confident his young squad will embrace the challenge, rather than be overwhelmed.
"I can't change the fact the guys I played with in '96 didn't get to play in a final and that will always live with me," he said.
"These players have given a new generation a lot of happy memories and they've made a bit more history. The players don't need to feel the burden of the past, they can play with that fearlessness because the past isn't important for them.
"They can go with the mindset of it being a challenge rather than fear."
Raheem Sterling to BBC Sport:
"We knew we needed a big performance against a difficult side, and we did that today. Doing it for your country is always special. For half a second I thought 'let it not be offside', but I'm so happy it went in.
"We knew the intensity we could play at, not a lot of teams can deal with it. We kept going, (Declan) Rice and (Kalvin) Phillips ate up ground and were animals in there. All-round, great team performance.
"We take it game by game, we go away, recover and get focused onto the next one."
Declan Rice to BBC Sport:
"It's incredible. A lot of people, you looked at the group-stage games, had written us off with complaints about the performances, not scoring enough goals.
"But as players you put that to the back of your mind, and I think we did that today. With a full house, everyone had that fire in their belly, to go out there and, for one, knock Germany out of the tournament, but, for us, progress to the next round.
"It's history. In the press conferences we've all been asked about the previous games, but today we've created our own bit of history. Gary Neville was saying last night how these things don't come around often, but we've made the most of that opportunity. It was a pleasure to be out there on the pitch."
Jack Grealish to BBC Sport:
"I loved it. It's not about me, it's about the team, I just came on and tried to create. I've played a part in the first goal and made the second, so I think it was a good performance from me!
"The manager just told me to go out and express myself, play with a smile on my face, and I did that.
"It's hard for [Harry Kane]. He's our most talked-about player, our best player, teams are going to double up on him and try to get him out of the game. But when the game opened up at the end, when Luke gave it me I was going to shoot on my left, but I saw H in the box and crossed it for him."
Harry Maguire to BBC Sport:
"It's been a tough couple of years for everyone in this country, so to put smiles back on faces, we're not done yet - we've got another game on Saturday.
"We had to be brave on and off the ball, take it under pressure. We changed formation to put pressure on them with the ball, they like to play with possession, we wanted to go man-for-man all over the pitch and I thought apart from the first 10 minutes, we executed that well."
No, you didn't dream it. England have beaten Germany in a knockout game, winning 2-0 at Wembley on an historic night to clear the path through Euro 2020. Alice Piper is joined by Rob Dorsett, Pete Smith and Gerard Brand to discuss the famous victory, including how Gareth Southgate once again proved his critics wrong.
With Ukraine up next, and Denmark or Czech Republic waiting in the semi-final, is the final now a minimum expectation for England? With Southgate's side favourites, how will they set up? Plus: praise for Sterling, Grealish, Saka, Pickford, Kane and... well, just about everyone.
And in part 3, Oli Yew pops in for a Ukraine scouting report after their last-gasp extra-time win over Sweden. Should they be feared? All roads lead to Rome for Saturday's quarter-final tie...