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Southgate basks in glory of 'streetwise' England after Euros criticism

Gareth Southgate celebrates after <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/england-women/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:England;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">England</a> qualified for the Euro 2024 semi-finals with a penalty shoot-out victory over <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/switzerland-women/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Switzerland;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Switzerland</a> (Adrian DENNIS)

England manager Gareth Southgate said he had earned the right to celebrate his side's progression to the Euro 2024 semi-finals on Saturday after receiving a barrage of criticism throughout the tournament for perceived negative tactics.

The Three Lions needed penalties to get the better of Switzerland in Duesseldorf after the sides were level at 1-1 after 120 minutes.

For the second time in two matches, England were headed for a meek exit when they fell behind to Breel Embolo's goal on 75 minutes.

Bukayo Saka quickly equalised with his side's first shot on target before England continued a turnaround in fortunes on penalties under Southgate.

"Every now and then you think surely there has to be some enjoyment in this job. If I can't enjoy that moment the whole thing is a waste of time," Southgate said of his post-match dance in front of the England fans.

"I took this job to try and improve English football. I wanted us to regain credibility on the world stage, so I can't deny when it (the criticism) is as personal as it has been the last few weeks, on a human level it's been difficult.

"We are not going to stop fighting, we are in another semi-final and we'll see where we can get to."

England have made the last four, where they will meet Turkey or the Netherlands, despite a series of sub-par performances from a side that had been hyped as one of the pre-tournament favourites.

Southgate's men have won just one of their five matches in 90 minutes, but he said they are showing other attributes of champions in their bid to win the Euros for the first time.

"You have to show other qualities to win in tournaments and these players are showing unbelievable qualities of character, resilience -- it is not just about playing well," added Southgate.

"It's not always pure football, it is other attributes. We are showing a bit more of that streetwise nature.

"We've never been to a final outside of England, we've never won a Euros, so that's two bits of history we would like to make."

Of England's six semi-final appearances in their history at major tournaments, half of them have come during Southgate's tenure.

He has also managed to turnaround England's tortured history with penalty shoot-outs.

Although they lost in heartbreaking fashion on spot-kicks to Italy in the Euro 2020 final, England have won three of the four shoot-outs he has taken charge of.

England scored all five of their penalties and went through thanks to Jordan Pickford's save from Manuel Akanji.

"In a penalty shoot-out their composure was impeccable," added Southgate.

"None of this is easy but we are in a third semi-final in four tournaments. That's a pretty good achievement, but it is not where we want it to end."

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