Time for England to show their quality or Gareth Southgate era will be over

England manager is beset by doubters, even if his team have reached a third semi-final in four tournaments

Key to the euphoria that greeted England’s demolition of the Netherlands at Euro 96 was that no one – perhaps other than the manager, Terry Venables – saw it coming. Dutch football was treated as something impossibly sophisticated back then, so when Venables’s tactics flummoxed the country of Johan Cruyff it was inevitable that his side’s 4-1 win would still be a talking point 28 years later.

These days, though, it takes more than winning a big group game for England to capture the public’s imagination. The time has passed when success is measured in cautious progress through tournaments. Expectations have gone through the roof this summer and Gareth Southgate, while proud of the advancements made during his eight years in charge, knows that the only question left to answer is whether he can push his team over the line at Euro 2024.

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