Porto: Not even England’s most passionate supporters would suggest that winning this week’s Nations League Finals would compare with a World Cup triumph but after last year’s excitement, Gareth Southgate’s men are now eyeing football’s newest trophy.
England’s run to the semi-finals in Russia re-connected their fans with the national team and the wins over Croatia and Spain in the Nations League group stage showed further progress.
They also earned Southgate’s side a place in the competition’s final four, where they will take on the Netherlands in Guimaraes on Thursday with a place in Sunday’s final against Portugal or Switzerland on the line.
The fact that England have not won anything at senior level since their solitary World Cup triumph in 1966 gives Southgate’s side the sense that a triumph will make a mark.
“It’s still a chance to win a trophy in an England shirt, and 1966 was a long time ago,” said captain Harry Kane.
“We’re going to try and take full advantage. We all want to win trophies and have the experience of sharing that with the group and the fans, so it’s a huge incentive. The fans are going to be out in numbers and hopefully be part of history,” added the forward.
Kane returned from a seven-week injury layoff in Tottenham’s 2-0 defeat to Liverpool in the Champions League final in Madrid on Saturday, looking some way short of full sharpness....