Euro 2020 .. England coach talks about the “huge obstacle”

England coach Gareth Southgate praised his team after reaching their first final in 55 years, but warned that Italy would be a “massive obstacle” in Sunday’s European Championship final. Southgate and the England players remained on the field to celebrate with the fans before deciding to stop the celebrations for the time being. “There was chaos on the pitch and I was part of it,” he said. “We have to enjoy the fact that we are in the final, but there is a huge obstacle to overcome.” He added: “Italy is a strong team. I’ve been thinking about that for the last two years. They are doing amazing and they have fighters in defense who have gone through everything. It’s a great match and I’m looking forward to it.” He continued, “We will regain our focus and prepare properly. We have to recover. It took a lot of physical and mental effort. Italy suffered from this, but they have one more day to recover.” Harry Kane won England 2-1 in extra time after being late at half an hour, the first goal against the team in the tournament. “I’m so proud of the players,” Southgate said. “It’s a great occasion to be a part of. The fans were amazing the whole time. We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game. We told the players we had to be flexible and come back from behind and that’s what we did.” “We’ve had three memorial games. We want to write memories for our country. Young people think it’s always so happy. I told (Bukayo) Saka and (Jude) Bellingham that it wasn’t always like that.” Southgate missed England’s final penalty in the Euro 1996 defeat to Germany and three years ago exited the World Cup as coach, but he was happy to take a step forward. He added: “We struggled in Moscow on a night like this but we succeeded this time. I felt we were going to get what we wanted but I knew it was a different battle. Denmark doesn’t get the proper recognition and it caused us a lot of problems.” He concluded: “When you wait for such a period as we have waited to cross a semi-final and given the lack of international experience of some players, the team did an amazing job.”

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