England verdict: Under-fire Gareth Southgate finally realises how to keep Three Lions fans happy… score goals


THE rallying cry from Gareth Southgate to the fans before kick-off included phrases such as “positive energy” and “togetherness”.

And if the England boss was not aware already, the key to maintain that is simple: score goals.


Gareth Southgate had Wembley roaring after England turned around a 2-0 deficit to draw 3-3 with GermanyCredit: Getty
Harry Maguire was booed by fans ahead of kick-off and later conceded a penalty


Harry Maguire was booed by fans ahead of kick-off and later conceded a penaltyCredit: Reuters

At 2-0 down after 67 minutes, Wembley’s faithful were preparing to sharpen their knives and produce a full-time audible assault on Southgate yet to be heard during his reign.

Harry Maguire was also looking resigned to his post-match fate – his woeful tackle on Jamal Musiala to give away a penalty brought back his persistent boo-boys.

This is an atmosphere that had boiled over in a flash despite a much-improved first half that saw the home crowd right behind the team and Southgate.

Yet as the Three Lions’ all-too-familiar frailties showed face once more after the break, ammunition was provided for the nay-sayers and pre-World Cup grumblers at Wembley.

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And they did not hold back. Despite hearing his ‘Tequila’ anthem earlier in the game, a confidence-shot Maguire was being jeered with every touch of the ball having been booed on THREE separate occasions in the warm-up.

It must be said, it could have been far worse. The vast majority of the home support did their best to stick behind their hard-to-predict national team.

And they were rewarded with a fine comeback no one saw coming, and went on to blow the proverbial roof off of Wembley stadium after Harry Kane’s penalty.

At times, it even felt like it did last summer with that glorious run to the Euros final, yet they aren’t yet singing ‘Southgate You’re The One’ at every turn like they used to. Not yet.


That was influenced massively by Nick Pope’s howler to gift the Germans a late, bubble-bursting equaliser that led to a full-time smattering of applause.

Heading into Qatar without a win in six competitive matches, Southgate knows he is now a World Cup knock-out exit away from the sort of backlash he has never felt before in this hot seat.

Wembley did its best to stir up the pre-match emotions. Old-school tunes from ‘World In Motion’ to ‘Football’s Coming Home’ were belted out.

There were pieces of card on seats with the words “Raise the Flag” to create a pre-match mosaic, and encouraged the crowd to sing God Save The King.

The programme front cover had the late Queen handing Sir Bobby Moore the Jules Rimet trophy in 1966.

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Southgate also had the feel-good vibes, getting high-fives from kids in the tunnel as he and the players arrived at the stadium.

Yet those hand gestures will become far more visceral if his team continue on this worrying run of form.

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