Gareth Southgate: Germany and Brazil still the benchmark in tournament football

England and Germany go head to head at the Alianz Arena in the Nations League on Tuesday evening.

By Press Association Published: 6 June 2022 - 3.19pm

Gareth Southgate insists Germany remain a benchmark in world football as he prepares his England side for their Nations League meeting in Munich.

The Three Lions will be upbeat about the chances of recording victory in just their third ever competitive fixture away to Germany, having got the better of their old foes with a 2-0 last-16 win at Euro 2020 last summer.

Germany have appointed a new boss since then in the shape of former Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick – who had previously worked as a coach under previous national team manager Joachim Low.

They are unbeaten in Flick’s first 10 games at the helm and Southgate believes they continue to be one of the top national teams in the world.

Raheem Sterling was among the scorers when England beat Germany at Euro 2020.
Raheem Sterling was among the scorers when England beat Germany at Euro 2020 (Mike Egerton/PA)

“For me, Germany and Brazil are still the benchmark in terms of countries that have regularly and consistently won tournaments,” he said on the eve of the meeting at the Allianz Arena.

“In some respects the result in the summer was overlooked, I’m not sure why – the quality of the (Germany) team was still very high, World Cup winners everywhere, Champions League winners everywhere, so really experienced at those big occasions.

Southgate continued: “Even when everyone talks about the 5-1 here (in 2001), they ended up in the World Cup final on the back of that qualifying campaign.

“So, you have to respect what they’ve been as a country and what they are as a country in footballing terms.

Hansi Flick has taken over as manager of Germany since their last meeting with England.
Hansi Flick has taken over as manager of Germany since their last meeting with England (Sven Hopper/PA)

“That mentality is what we’re trying to create – we’ve got to keep trying to get to latter stages of competitions. Games like (Tuesday) are brilliant for us – that’s exactly the kind of test we need.”

Asked about how he judged Flick’s influence on Die Mannschaft, Southgate said: “You can see elements of what he did at Bayern Munich.

“Seven of the team that played the other night (in a Nations League draw with Italy) were either current or have just left Bayern, so there’s a lot of experience, cohesion of working with him.

“We’ve got to keep trying to get to latter stages of competitions. Games like (Tuesday) are brilliant for us - that’s exactly the kind of test we need”
- Gareth Southgate

“You can see the counter-pressing, the general pressing, the forwards especially, so we have to be prepared for that and of course with the ball they have some talented players and that was the same in the summer.”

One of the Bayern players at Flick’s disposal is Jamal Musiala, the 19-year-old midfielder who has 12 senior Germany caps.

Born in Stuttgart, Musiala qualified to play for England through his father and, having relocated to south London, played for Southampton and Chelsea academies before joining Bayern.

He had also played at England youth team levels up to and including the under-21s before changing his allegiance to represent Germany.

“We would have liked him to stay, for certain,” Southgate said of Musiala.

“But when you are training at Bayern Munich every day and you are surrounded by Bayern Munich and German players then that is a little bit more challenging. And, of course, his family have those strong ties.

“We enjoyed working with him when he was in our junior teams. He was a really nice boy to work with and we knew he was going to be, and is, a good player.

“So yes, we would have liked him, for sure, but we have got lots of these situations now in England.

“I am sure Germany have got the same where players can play for a number of different countries and sometimes your heart is going to take you somewhere else and we have complete respect for that.

“It is nice to see him doing well having met him, I think, when he was about 13 or 14. I am really pleased for him that’s working well – (on Tuesday) I don’t care less! But generally I am pleased to see him doing well.”

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