Gareth Southgate says previous England v Germany matches are an “irrelevance” to the current squad as he challenges his players to write a new chapter in the Three Lions history books.
England haven’t beaten Germany in a knockout match of a major tournament since the 1966 World Cup final – with memories of penalty shootout defeats at Italia 90 and Euro 96 dominating the build-up to Tuesday’s game.
However, Southgate – who famously missed the crucial penalty in that Euro 96 defeat – insists the weight of history does not weigh on this young generation’s shoulders as it perhaps did on previous sides.
Asked whether he has had to ‘demystify’ the hype surrounding an England v Germany tie, Southgate told ITV Sport: “I don’t need to demystify it. The history is an irrelevance for them.
“We’ve got boys born into the 2000s, which is obviously scary for both of us, but it’s the reality of the group we’re dealing with.
“It’s of no consequence to them what we did in, you know, Peter Bonetti in 1970 and what happened in 1990 and so on.
“Of course, they’re watching that stuff and getting a bit of an understanding of it but it’s not something we’re speaking to them about.
“This team have put down lots of historical performances in the last couple of years, made their own history, made their own stories and this is how they should view this game.
“It’s an opportunity. We’ve only won one knockout match in a European Championship as a country, so they’ve got a great chance to go and be the first team since 1996 to do that.”
Southgate has refused to rule Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell out of contention of the Germany clash, despite the duo having to self-isolate until the day before the match.
The Chelsea pair are having to train on their own after being deemed close contacts of Scotland’s Billy Gilmour, who tested positive for Covid-19.
“It’s been quite complicated. In the main they’ve had to work entirely on their own,” he added.
“They’ve been able to work in very small, well-distanced group session but not with the full group and they haven’t been able to take part in any of the full team training sessions.
“The guidance from Public Health England has been very clear, very specific and we’ve had to follow that.”
Asked whether they are in contention for Tuesday, Southgate added: “Well, that’s what we’ve got to take into account, really. There’s not only the training part of that but the psychological part of that as well, of course.
“They’ve had to spend a lot of time in a room on their own so very difficult situation firstly for the two boys.
“You come to a major tournament, you want to be a part of everything and they’ve had to isolate through this period, which is of course difficult for anybody. And for us we’ve just got to make that decision as we as we progress.
“I mean as we get closer to the game they come out of the full quarantine midnight the night before the game, so we’ll be able to talk to them a little bit more than we are at the moment.
“I’m having to redo the meetings that I have with the rest of the team over a Zoom call with them, so although I can speak with them once they’ve been on to the training pitch to do their session, yeah, it’s just getting across all of that feeling that they have, really.”