William Gallas Exclusive: Failure If They Don’t Reach World Cup final
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William Gallas Exclusive: Failure If They Don’t Reach World Cup final

William Gallas believes England will have “failed” if they do not make it to the World Cup final this winter. The Three Lions have flirted with silverware under Gareth Southgate, finishing fourth at the last World Cup, coming third in the Nations League and losing the Euro 2020 final to Italy on penalties. Given their strong tournament showings in recent years, Gallas feels going one step further than four years ago should be the benchmark for England.


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Must Reach Final

Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “If I look at the group, I think they [England] have to finish first. 

“They can go very far, but after their performances in the European Championships, I think they have to reach the final. 

“If they don’t reach the final, I think they have failed.”

FIFA World Cup 2022 Golden Boot Preview

FIFA World Cup 2022 Golden Boot Preview

Southgate Must Loosen The Reigns

Under Southgate, England have generally played in a more functional, pragmatic way - but Gallas thinks the Three Lions boss may need to loosen the reins if his men are to maximise their chances of success.

“Don’t forget, Gareth Southgate is a former defender,” he added. 

“When you’ve played your entire career as a defender, tactically, your first thought is about caution; being solid. 

“I think with the players that Southgate has, he should give them the freedom to go and play on the front foot. Let them enjoy themselves and play.”

FIFA World Cup 2022 Preview

FIFA World Cup 2022 Preview

Underperforming England

However, Gallas referenced England’s propensity to underperform at major tournaments, failing to harness their considerable talents into success - something the former France defender experienced first-hand at Euro 2004.

“With England, it is always the same,” he said. “When you look at the squad, you will say, ‘What a team’, but when you play against them, it is completely different. 

“I can speak about this because at Euro 2004, France played England. 

“I was playing for Chelsea at the time. I looked at the team and said, ‘It will be hard for us to beat England.’ 

“When I looked at all of the players England had, I thought they were the strongest team in the competition. 

“I knew all of these guys, I’d watch them every week, so I knew the quality of the players. In the end, we beat England 2-1. 

“The atmosphere was incredible. The English fans were going crazy; waving their flags, singing. 

“When England goes to a major tournament, it is always the same. Look at what happened last year, [they] got to the final and then lost. England played well, so I don’t know what is wrong with England.”

 

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