ENGLAND’S assistant boss Steve Holland says the side was not ready to win the World Cup last summer. Gareth Southgate’s side surprised
ENGLAND’S assistant boss Steve Holland says the side was not ready to win the World Cup last summer.
Gareth Southgate’s side surprised everyone with their run to the last four of Russia 2018 before crashing out to Croatia.
And the Three Lions number two admits the way the young side failed to see out the semi-final when they were leading going into the final quarter was a sign they were just short of what was needed.
Holland told the Telegraph: “In the end, when you reflect, we weren’t quite ready to win, frankly.
“We were half-an-hour or so, 20 minutes, from a World Cup final. We had a very inexperienced team who had never been in that situation before.
“It was a massive moment and we probably, on reflection, didn’t handle that as well as we could have handled it.”
England had led their clash with Croatia thanks to Kieran Trippier’s brilliant early free-kick, but gradually sat deeper and allowed their opponents to dictate the game.
That lead to Ivan Perisic levelling the scores after 68 minutes, before Mario Mandzukic struck the winner in extra-time as the Three Lions came up short.
Holland added: “Losing the semi-final was a hard 24 hours for us all. I can’t make it sound better than it was. We were all shattered by it.
“We were desperate to give the nation what they wanted and we fell short at the end. We had to suffer.”
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Since the summer, Southgate and Holland have continued to develop the England squad and they have kept on making progress.
The country topped their Nations League group on the back of victories over both Croatia and Spain to prove they are heading in the right direction.
Now they are looking for the team to make the next step by succeeding in the Nations League finals in the coming summer, with Portugal, Holland and Swtizerland the others in the last four.