Different this time
England boss Gareth Southgate has admitted that the lack of pressure from the press and public ahead of the World Cup worked in their favour.
His side reached the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in 28 years and instilled a new confidence in the national team.
The reason for so many England sides and their failure has often came in the form of that external pressure from back home.
Though, this youthful side came into the tournament with no expectations, no pressure and it worked very much in their favour.
Coping with the pressure
Now, Gareth Southgate has admitted that it helped the side but there was still some pressure to overcome.
“There were low expectations this time which relieved the pressure, but there was still pressure to get out of the group, win a knockout game, win a penalty shoot out. They coped brilliantly with that,” Southgate explained to the Daily Mirror.
“You have to cope with expectation if you want to play for England. We’ve raised expectation because we’ve also raised belief.
“The players can associated playing with England with enjoyment, fun and not being under siege and feeling everything is against them. There’s an energy and a connection back. That’s important in the short, mid and long-term as well.
“Of course we go back into a different cycle where club football dominates, and we have the windows of internationals.
“But the desire of our public is for players to play with pride, first and foremost, and they see a team who leave everything out on the pitch. They have done that without question.
“They enjoy a team with style. We have. We’ve scored six in a game at a World Cup for the first time ever. They’ve got to know the players better, I think. The perception of players is different with this group in particular. There will be an affinity there.”
Gareth Southgate looking to finish World Cup strong against Belgium
England still have one game to play in the form of a World Cup third-place playoff.
They will face Roberto Martinez’s Belgium but Southgate has admitted he will not take his foot off the gas.