Gareth Southgate prepared for ’emotional’ game against Wales, Scotland or Ukraine as he reacts to England’s Qatar 2022 World Cup draw April 2, 2022 – Posted in: Soccer
England manager Gareth Southgate is expecting an ’emotional’ game for his side in the group stage of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
The draw for the tournament took place on Friday and revealed that the Three Lions will face USA, Iran and one of either Wales, Scotland or Ukraine.
“It’s normally been a position where it could be worse, but you just don’t know where the difficult games are gonna come from.
“Of course in terms of rankings we’re seeded, which gives us a bonus as to [avoiding] all the teams in pot one.
“The expectation will be for us to go through and we understand that and we’ve gotta go and make that happen.”
Scotland and Ukraine still have to meet, with the winner set to face Wales for a place at the tournament and the final spot in Group B.
It will either be an all-British clash for England, or a game against the nation currently being invaded by Russia.
Asked if this will be an emotional occasion, Southgate said: “Absolutely yeah, that was the first thing that hit me when that tie was drawn because the emotion as you rightly say – whatever the fixture is – will be enormous.
“We experienced the games in 2016 against Wales, last summer against Scotland, so we know what those fixtures look like and they’re always harder for England than maybe if they’d drawn another of the top seeds.
“And Ukraine, well all of our thoughts are with them.
“We just don’t know when that tie’s gonna be played, but it doesn’t matter in actual fact, we’ll wait to see what the outcome is.”
Giving his thoughts on the USA as opposition, Southgate added: “Well I’ve got to know Gregg [Berhalter – manager] very well actually.
“In fact we met only two weeks ago at Wembley.
“He’s doing a really good job. They’ve brought in a lot of young players and managed to go through a lot of dual nationality players – they took one of ours, which I did pull him about!
“We know they’ve got some very good players as well that are experienced playing in Europe, so their football is on an upward curve, there’s no doubt about that.
“That’s gonna be a particularly tough game.”
Southgate has had to answer questions on human rights with the tournament being hosted in Qatar, and will now face more similar challenges having been drawn in Group B with Iran.
Women were pepper sprayed in the nation this week when attempting to simply attend the team’s match against Lebanon.
“I have to say I wasn’t aware of it until I was asked just previously to this interview,” Southgate said when asked about this harrowing issue.
“That’s something else I’m gonna have to find out more about.
“International football is complex and we’re finding that out increasingly so.
“There’s barely a week goes by where I’m not having to answer more questions and diplomatic status than football frankly.
“But it’s important, we can’t avoid those subjects.
“In terms of a team’s eligibility or otherwise, that’s for other people to decide really.”
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