Gareth Southgate has urged England to seize their ‘opportunity’ to ‘create a moment that lives with people forever’ when the Three Lions face Germany at Euro 2020.
England face their old rivals in the last 16 of the European Championship at Wembley this evening, looking for a first major tournament victory over the Germans in more than two decades and first in a knockout stage tie since the 1966 World Cup final.
Southgate memorably formed part of the side beaten by Germany in the semi-finals of Euro ’96 on home soil and has urged his side to grasp their opportunity and produce a performance that will live long in the memory for England supporters.
“These sorts of landmarks are always opportunities,” said Southgate at the pre-match press conference.
“Tonight they have got an opportunity to go beyond where some incredible players and fantastic servants of England have gone before. And that is always an opportunity to be grasped.
“Every time you play for England you have an opportunity to score a goal or create a moment that lives with people for ever.
“That is to be cherished, really. That is what presents itself against Germany.”
England will be looking to improve on a poor record in knockout fixtures at the European Championship, with the Three Lions having won just one tie in the competition’s history – a penalty shoot-out win against Spain after a goalless draw at Euro ’96.
Southgate admits he was unaware of the extent of England’s past record at the finals, but says he has told his side to ignore the past as they bid to write their own history this summer.
“We are in a tournament to get ourselves to a quarter-final and I was not really that aware of our record. I knew our European Championship record did not stack up against the Czech Republic, Denmark and teams like that, but I had not realised that Spain was the only knockout win.
“But these lads have got this chance to put another marker down — and I have always been very firm with them that they should not worry about what has gone before.”