Winning Euro 2020 as hard as World Cup, England's Southgate says
LONDON – England manager Gareth Southgate believes his side have improved since last year's World Cup but admits winning next summer's Euro 2020 Finals will be a massive challenge.
England reached the semi-finals in Russia in Southgate's first competition in charge.
Their 4-0 win in Kosovo on Sunday ensured they finished top of Group A in Euro 2020 qualifying and they will be among the top seeds when the draw is made on November 30.
"I would say that we're definitely further ahead than we were heading into the Russia World Cup but we made massive strides in this period (between the end of qualification and the tournament itself)," Southgate told reporters.
"We've got to make sure that to get the level of performance next summer, we have to improve in the way that we did over that spell. (But) to win the European Championship is, at the moment, no easier than the World Cup," he told reporters.
"The final four at the World Cup were all European and you've got to add Spain, Germany, Portugal and all the others into that. It's a really high-level tournament."
Goals from Harry Winks, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Mason Mount gave England their seventh victory in eight qualifying matches.
Captain Kane scored in every match to take his tally to 32 and in total England banged in 37 goals in eight games, a record for the country in qualification.
Southgate said England's confidence shone through, especially when they find themselves in trouble in a game.
"I think the team have belief, for sure," he said.
"You can see the confidence. They don't come into these matches worrying about what might go wrong.
"They've got the confidence to control games with possession and they know they're going to score goals."
Since winning the World Cup on home soil in 1966, England have only made the semis of an international event four times, at the European Championship in 1968 and 1996 and the World Cups of 1990 and 2018.
Southgate said the next step would be for England to show they can beat the very top sides, in an international competition.
"What we don't know, because we haven't had those tests more recently against the top eight or 10 (countries), is exactly how we're going to cope in those (pressure) moments," he said.dpa