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Published 10 December 2022 5 min read
England Men's Senior Team

Gareth Southgate: 'The players couldn't have given any more'

Written by:

Frank Smith

Manager has his say after England exit the 2022 FIFA World Cup to France

Gareth Southgate believes his players proved England were capable of winning the World Cup with their performance against France and stated his players couldn’t have given any more as they exited the competition.

The Three Lions were arguably the better side against France in Saturday night’s quarter-final, with Southgate’s men having more possession and more attempts at goal.

In the end, Aurélien Tchouaméni’s impressive long-range strike and Olivier Giroud’s header proved to be the difference as Les Bleus progressed, with Harry Kane only able to convert one of his two spot kick-kicks on the night.

Southgate said: “Well, I think the performance did [deserve better]. Goals are decisive but I just said to the players in there I don’t think they could give any more. 

Harry Kane became England's joint all-time record goalscorer when he converted his first penalty of the night
Harry Kane became England's joint all-time record goalscorer when he converted his first penalty of the night

“I think they played really well against a top team and it’s fine margins, things at both ends that have ended up deciding the game, but I think the way they’ve progressed throughout this tournament has been fantastic.”

He continued: “We were here to try to win the tournament, and we had belief we could. I think we showed with the performance tonight against the reigning champions that we’ve got a team that could’ve done that.”

Harry Kane moved level with Wayne Rooney as England men’s team’s record all-time goalscorer when he made it 53 with his equalising penalty against France.

England enjoyed fantastic support out in Qatar
England enjoyed fantastic support out in Qatar

But Kane’s historic night was to end in heartbreak for the England captain as he sent a second penalty over the crossbar late on.

And Southgate said: “For me, we win and lose as a team. We’ve let a couple of goals in and we’ve missed a few chances.

“He’s [Harry Kane] been incredible for us and is so reliable in those sorts of situations, we wouldn’t be here but for the number of goals he’s scored for us. 

“I think just at key moments, you’re playing in a high-level game where there are going to be chances created. In most of the big moments we were in the right place, we had more shots on goal. The goalkeeper’s made a couple of really good saves for us but it’s a game of fine margins.”

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