How England have restored connection with fans, explains Gareth Southgate

How England have restored connection with fans, explains Gareth Southgate

England have not won a penalty shootout since 1996, when they defeated Spain in the European Championship.

Sweden's World Cup has been a odd one so far: lucky to beat South Korea with a penalty in their first game, unlucky to lose to a 95th minute goal against Germany and totally convincing to destroy Mexico 3-0 in their last match.

And Marks & Spencer - which is the Three Lions" official suit supplier - believe soaring sales are down to "the Gareth Southgate effect'.

"We've been practising and going through strategies on penalties since March". In fact, England has twice as many goals from dead ball situations (four) as it does from open play (two) to go along with having 58.6 percent of its shots come from that (17 of 29). "I feel like we've created excitement, like we've played in a style that has really shown an expression of what young English players are capable of", he said on Sky News.

Back on home shores at Wembley a month later, some supporters were so bored by their display against Slovenia - when Harry Kane's last-gasp goal secured a 1-0 victory and qualification for the World Cup - they amused themselves by pelting the pitch with paper planes made from team sheets.

Southgate, who missed from the spot at Euro 96, said: "We have been through the various drills and prepared for if we get to that point".

It wasn't Lingard's first strike of the World Cup.

Things seem to be riding high for England with every bounce going their way while they sit and watch other top teams tumble out of the tournament.

In the corridors leading out of the Arena Baltika, the Belgium players from the Premier League greeted their England counterparts like old friends, even those who did not share club loyalties.

I was so excited about the Euros, being on Twitter all the time or being on news apps.

It has been suggested that England's second-place finish in Group G has provided them with an easier path to the semi-final, because if they beat Colombia, Croatia or Switzerland will await them in the quarter-finals. "I can't speak highly enough of his character around the group", he said. For us, we're not focusing on the next game [after Colombia], we've got to get through against Colombia. "This tournament I've changed that and stayed off social media as much as possible". The route we've got now is Colombia, who have been poor and had James Rodriguez limp out of the Senegal game. You don't always get that in a tournament and it means I'll be ready to go on Tuesday.

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