Maguire: England using WC defeat as ‘motivation’ for Euros

James Holland
Harry Maguire England F365

Harry Maguire believes the pain caused by England’s World Cup defeat three years ago can spur them on at the Euros.

Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal for Croatia as they knocked the Three Lions out in the semi-final.

England have since avenged that defeat with a 1-0 victory over the Croats at Euro 2020.

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A stunning 4-0 win over Ukraine has now taken them into the semis, where they will be looking to do one better against Denmark.

Speaking ahead of the clash, Maguire said: “The motivation is there. It’s the semi-final of the European Championship. Losing the semi-final at the World Cup hurt a lot.

“So we need to make sure when it comes on Wednesday night we get a positive feeling rather than the one we got against Croatia.”

The Manchester United centre-back thinks the squad has improved since their heartbreaking exit in Moscow.

“I think we’re in a lot better place than we were,” he said. “The experience of that, we’ve learnt from it and also the experience of the games in between as well, for example the Nations League.

“We’ve had a lot of big games in that period to improve and a lot of time spent together on the training pitch, friendlies and qualifiers. Every game we play we feel we improve.

“In this tournament, from the first game to the Ukraine game, there’s a lot of differences in the principles that we’re demanding from each other.

“Of course we’re in a better place now, but we’ve still got a long way to go.”

Maguire also added to the growing list of people heaping praise on manager Gareth Southgate.

He continued: “I think Gareth has been brilliant for this team. He sits here and gives us all the plaudits.

“But we appreciate the job he’s doing and the way that he sets us up and his man-management skills, so I can’t speak highly enough of Gareth and his coaching staff and the way that he’s gone about his business over the last four years.

“He’s proved over the last four years that as an England manager it’s always hard to please everyone, especially the public, in terms of the way he sets up and selection.

“But we trust him. Whatever team he picks or whatever style of play he wants to go with, it’s the best one for the job.”

The Three Lions face Denmark on Wednesday at 20:00 for a place in the Euros final.