Gareth Southgate insists Germany are still ‘benchmark’ for tournament success ahead of England clash

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Gareth Southgate insists Germany are still ‘benchmark’ for tournament success ahead of England clash
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Gareth Southgate says Germany are “still the benchmark” for major tournament success as he saluted tomorrow night’s Nations League opponents for joining England’s stance against racism by taking the knee.

England travel to Munich to take on a Germany side who are unbeaten in ten matches since new coach Hansi Flick took charge following last summer’s European Championships.

Southgate’s side enjoyed a famous success over the Germans in the last-16 of that tournament, while Germany failed to make it out of the group stage at the 2018 World Cup when defending the title they had won four years earlier.

Despite successive tournament disappointments, however, the Three Lions boss says his side can still learn plenty from their hosts tomorrow evening.

“For me, Germany and Brazil are still the benchmark in terms of countries that have regularly and consistently won tournaments,” Southgate said.

“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.

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

England head to the Allianz Arena off the back of a surprise 1-0 defeat to Hungary in their opening game of the Nations League on Saturday afternoon.

That match was marred ahead of kick-off when some sections a crowd made up mostly of schoolchildren booed England players taking the knee in their usual stand against discrimination.

Unlike England, Germany’s players do not routinely take the knee before international matches but did so when they met at Euro 2020 last year and will repeat the show of unity on Tuesday night.

“Well, we’re two nations with huge numbers of mixed heritage nationals and it’s an important sign for everybody, so we welcome that,” Southgate added.

“They were supportive of the LGBTQ+ community when they played in Hungary last year, I think they were the first team to do that with the captain wearing the [rainbow] armband and I think we are united in our beliefs on those things.”

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