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Germany still the ‘benchmark’ says England boss Southgate

Gareth Southgate said Germany remain the benchmark for England as a result of their trophy-winning pedigree as he prepared his side for Tuesday’s Nations League clash in Munich.

England will look to bounce back from their surprise Nations League defeat to Hungary when they face the four-time World Cup winners in Munich.

Southgate’s men beat their old rivals in the last 16 of Euro 2020 last year and will be hoping to repeat the feat on Tuesday.

But Germany have won every match under new boss Hansi Flick, who took over from Joachim Loew after the European Championship.

The England boss told his pre-match press conference on Monday that the game would be a “brilliant test” for his side, who lost in the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and were beaten by Italy on penalties in the Euro 2020 final.

“For me, Germany and Brazil are still the benchmark in terms of countries who’ve regularly, consistently won tournaments,” Southgate said.

“Even when everyone will talk about the 5-1 (England win in 2001) here, they ended up in the World Cup final on the back of that qualifying campaign.

“So you have to respect what they’ve been as a country and what they are as a country in footballing terms, and that mentality is what we’re trying to create. 

“We’ve got to keep getting to the latter stages of competitions and games like tomorrow are brilliant for us — that’s exactly the sort of test we need.”

Southgate hailed the decision of both teams to take the knee before the match as a statement against racism.

England players were barracked by some sections of the crowd when they made the gesture before Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Hungary in Budapest.

Southgate said: “We’re two nations with huge numbers of mixed-heritage nationals and I think it’s an important sign for everybody, so we welcome that… We are united in our beliefs.”

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