Germany and Brazil remain the yardstick for England, manager Gareth Southgate said on Monday, welcoming the chance to test his team against the Germans in the Nations League on Tuesday.
Southgate guided England to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and a runners-up finish in last year’s European Championship, a tournament in which they beat Germany en route to the final against Italy which they lost on penalties.
Speaking ahead of England’s UEFA Nations League group match in Munich, Southgate said his side had to consistently beat the big teams in world soccer as they approach the Qatar World Cup starting in November.
“For me, Germany and Brazil are still the benchmark in terms of countries who have regularly, consistently won tournaments,” Southgate told reporters.
“People will talk about England’s 5-1 win (over Germany in 2001) but they ended up in the World Cup final on the back of that qualifying campaign.
“You have to respect what they’ve done and what they are as a country. That mentality is what we’re trying to create. We’re trying to get to the latter stages of competitions and games like tomorrow are brilliant. It’s exactly the test we need.”
England lost 1-0 to Hungary in the first match while Germany drew 1-1 with Italy.