Gareth Southgate has come agonisingly close to guiding England to glory, reaching the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia and losing the Euro 2020 final to Italy on penalties. Near misses have been the highlights of his tenure with the Three Lions. These misses have also strengthened the belief that if small mistakes are rectified, Southgate could end England’s 56-years wait for a World Cup title.
The 52-year-old joined England in 2016 to fill the avoid of Sam Allardyce, who was sacked unceremoniously due to a scandal.
Southgate, a former defensive midfielder with Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough, made 57 appearances for England. One of the highlights of his career was his penalty miss in Euro 1996 semifinal.
As a coach, however, Southgate rose to fame for guiding England to a fourth-place finish in Russia. It was the Three Lions’ best performance since 1990. In the 2020 Euro, where his team lost to Italy in the final, Southgate used the 4-3-3 system without much success. He switched to operate in a 3-4-1-2 or a 3-4-3 formation. It worked wonders in the Qatar World Cup qualifiers. England scored 39 goals and conceded a mere three. The biggest win - 10-0 - came against San Marino. England also beat Poland and Hungary in the run-up to the quadrennial event.
In the World Cup, Southgate is likely to continue with the formations unless there are injury concerns. Currently, Harry Maguire’s poor form and injuries to Reece James and Kyle Walker are his biggest headache.
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