England boss Gareth Southgate keeping select guest-list for Croatia clash

England boss Gareth Southgate keeping select guest-list for Croatia clash

Kerry Wise
July 12, 2018

The road in question is Southgate Drive, which, as a local sign writer highlighted with his own modifications is the ideal road on which to pay tribute to the current England manager, who has taken the Three Lions to their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years.

England have been based in Repino near St. Petersburg for the tournament, but their campaign has taken them to five different host cities.

"All the celebrations and the songs they are singing back home, it inspires us as players to be able to bring the nation together and put smiles on people's faces".

Considering the fact that he can immortalise himself in the next six days, depending on results, we want you to cast your mind back to the first time that Southgate took charge of an England match.

Houghton missed the last qualifying match against Russian Federation, which the Lionesses won 3-1, due to undergoing knee surgery, but will be back for the start of the new season.

The 68-year-old insists it is paramount today's team do not get carried away with the prospect of worldwide football's greatest prize so close, and he has been impressed by how Southgate has managed emotions.

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Warnings to England fans and players had ranged from the supposed threat lurking from masses of hooligans, to players being seduced by Kremlin-backed 'honey traps'.

"I couldn't listen to it for 20 years, frankly", said Southgate.

It might be tempting to hope for good luck at such a crucial juncture, but the only superstitious spell in the England manager's coaching career was fleeting.

I have a picture of a group of young footballers, resplendent in slightly baggy Crystal Palace club suits, smiling for the cameras just before they leave for a youth team trip to Portugal.

Southgate is expected to name the same side that started the 2-0 quarter-final win over Sweden as he has a fully fit 23-man squad. He knew there was a chance to make history. I think, to be fair, the public have done that. "And then we look forward to doing it all again on Sunday!"

"It's not the same if you play 90 minutes twice and 120 minutes twice, but I believe we've had ample time to recover and we're professional enough to know who needs what in terms of recovery", he said. "England can beat Croatia and they could win the final".