Gareth Southgate insists his players are ‘burning’ with desire to prove their position as one of world football’s powerhouses after being grouped with Germany and Italy in the Nations League.
England were pooled alongside two of their Euro 2020 opponents and Hungary, who they faced during World Cup qualification, in Thursday’s draw in Nyon, Switzerland.
Despite the daunting group, England head into the tournament — at the end of the domestic season — as one of the favourites, after losing to Italy on penalties in the final of the European Championship.
Gareth Southgate’s England will face Euro 2020 rivals Italy in the Nations League groups
Southgate said: ‘What the summer gave us was the confidence that we got to where we did but also we retain the hunger that we haven’t got to where we want to get. I think that fire is burning in our group of players. I think over the last few years we have had some great progress in terms of tournament progression.
‘One of the things that we spoke about over the last couple of years was needing to beat more of those top teams. We were able to win in Spain in the last Nations League, we lost to and beat Belgium in the most recent Nations League. We got a win against Germany in the summer, so we are starting to beat those teams.
‘What we have got to do is beat them on a regular basis and that is the next step for us. To win tournaments you have got to win against the biggest countries. That is the missing piece.’
On the prospect of facing Hungary, whose fans racially abused England players earlier this year, Southgate added: ‘We’ve got to understand that it could be a difficult fixture.’
They will have a chance to avenge their final defeat by Italy after they were beaten on penalties
Another clash with old foes Germany is also in the offing when the competition starts next year
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
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