England manager Southgate targeted after 0-0 draw against Slovenia at Euro 2024

COLOGNE, Germany (AP) — Top of the group, undefeated and on the favorable side of the draw for the knockout stage of Euro 2024. It’s a case of job done for England at this stage of the tournament .

Try telling that to the fans who laughed loudly and threw mugs of beer as the final whistle blew in a 0-0 draw against Slovenia at the Cologne Stadium on Tuesday.

Criticism of England’s performance in Germany was fierce.

“I haven’t seen any team qualify and receive a similar result,” said manager Gareth Southgate.

Southgate believes he and his England team could pay the price for their success under his leadership. A safe passage to the round of 16 maintains his personal best progression from the group stage of every major tournament he has taken charge of, dating back to the World Cup in 2018.

“I think the expectations (are probably different). We’ve made England even more fun over the last six or seven years. I think it’s been enjoyable for the players,” Southgate said. “We have to be very, very careful to keep it that way.”

England have not been fun to watch at these Euros with a 1-0 win over Serbia their only win in Group C. This was followed by a 1-1 draw against Denmark and a goalless draw against Slovenia.

Three games, two goals and a lot of disappointed supporters.

The performance against Denmark was apparently so uninspired that former captain and now BBC presenter Gary Lineker used an insult to describe it. And although he claimed he was “oblivious” to Lineker’s scathing criticism, it contributed to the “unusual environment” Southgate said he was working in at this tournament.

The mood was little improved by plastic beer cups being thrown onto the pitch as Southgate and his players went to applaud the England fans after the match.

“I’m not going to give up thanking the fans who were brilliant during the match,” he said. “They might feel differently towards me. But for me, we will only succeed if we are together.

Southgate led England to the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2018 and the final of the last Euro. But his team will likely need a marked upturn in form if they are to live up to their pre-tournament announcement as one of the favorites for the European title.

Still, England at least found themselves on the opposite side of the draw against Spain, France, Germany and Portugal and will face one of the top teams for third place in the next round after s qualify as group winner.

“That was the goal before the tournament started. Get to the top of the group and control our destiny,” said captain Harry Kane.

This result also meant that Slovenia reached the round of 16 for the first time and Croatia were eliminated.

“We are such a small country, with such a big heart and such great mental strength. This is why I am very proud of my team,” said coach Matjaz Kek. “This is just the beginning of a new and beautiful era for Slovenian football.”

Although it was a proud night for the Slovenes, it was another performance that highlighted England’s attacking problems, with substitute Cole Palmer coming closest to scoring a stoppage-time winner.

“You can’t go into every game with that much pressure and score four goals. Football doesn’t work like that,” Southgate said. “It’s important to win the group to control your own destiny.”

A masked Kylian Mbappé scored his first Euro goal, but France drew 1-1 with Poland finish second in Group D behind Austria, who beat Netherlands 3-2.

Mbappe wore a protective mask after breaking his nose in France’s opening match against Austria and scoring from the penalty spot. But Robert Lewandowski’s double penalty gave already-eliminated Poland their first point of the tournament.


James Robson is at


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