Rangnick appears to make England dig as Shearer slams ‘ridiculous’ calls to drop Three Lions star

Joe Williams
Ralf Rangnick on England and Austria
Ralf Rangnick shouts instructions during a Euro 2024 match.

Ralf Rangnick has appeared to have a dig at England and other teams at Euro 2024 after his Austria side were knocked out against Turkey on Tuesday night.

Mert Gunok’s injury-time wonder save sealed Turkey’s place in the Euro 2024 quarter-finals after a breathless 2-1 win over Austria in Leipzig.

Two goals from defender Merih Demiral had put his side well in command before Michael Gregoritsch reduced the deficit on the hour mark to set up a frantic finale.

Christoph Baumgartner’s late header deep into added time looked to have sent the tie into extra-time but Gunok somehow palmed away his effort to spark jubilant celebrations in the Turkish ranks.

Austria’s efforts in the group stage drew praise from former players and pundits with only Germany and Spain scoring more goals than Rangnick’s side over the first four rounds of the tournament.

Austria have scored more goals than early Euro 2024 favourites England and France put together with Rangnick keen to make a point in his post-match press conference.

Rangnick told journalists: “I think the four games we played were very entertaining, including today’s game,

“Not everything went accurately. We could have played a few passes better, but they were four very entertaining games, very intense, super intense.

“I’ve seen other games where it was difficult to even stay awake and that was not the case with our games.

“Now we need to take it with us into the Nations League and then into the World Cup qualification. If we continue to play the way we have in these four games, then we have a good chance to qualify for the World Cup.”

On Austria’s exit from Euro 2024, Rangnick added: “We didn’t have the necessary luck.

“I believe if the game had gone into extra time, we would have had a chance to win the game because I think Turkey were fairly exhausted at the end and we had a physical advantage.

“We didn’t score enough goals or create enough chances and in the set pieces we didn’t defend very well. At the second one, we had three players who were very good at headers, but [Merih] Demiral still scored.

“And if you’re behind two goals then things aren’t any easier. The team tried everything, we then scored one goal and we had enough time to achieve a draw but it’s difficult if you have Gordon Banks in the goal,’ referencing Mert Gunok’s miraculous injury time save.”

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Former Germany international Didi Hamann reckons England will only improve at Euro 2024 if they drop Jude Bellingham, who scored a spectacular overhead kick in their 2-1 win over Slovakia.

“Unless Gareth Southgate changes the team in two or three positions, I see little hope,” Hamann said.

“Southgate is letting things go but he has to make a decision. Between Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham only one can play and for me that would be Foden.

“For me you have to take Bellingham out, Foden in the middle and then Cole Palmer and Anthony Gordon on the flanks. And Southgate has to think about what he’s going to do with Harry Kane.”

Hamann added: “He was hyped after his first six months in Madrid.

“But he has only performed averagely for Real since Christmas. In the Champions League, he was barely seen in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. That’s why I’m not surprised by his performances at the European Championships.

“Bellingham is undoubtedly a good player, but he needs to confirm his performances from last year. Many are talking about the Ballon d’Or, but I don’t see him as a world footballer at the moment.”

Responding to some calls to drop Bellingham, former England striker Alan Shearer told the Rest Is Football podcast: “There is no way he should be dropped.

“How can you drop him? It’s ridiculous. Of course he shouldn’t be dropped, he’s got to be in the team.”

Fellow pundit Gary Lineker added: “That’s just an emphatic no, isn’t it?”