England have Euro 2024 final chance as James backs FA to succeed with Southgate successor

By Sports Desk April 01, 2024

England should not expect to win Euro 2024 but they have a chance to triumph if things go their way, according to David James, who also believes the Three Lions will be well-prepared for life after Gareth Southgate.

Southgate's England were penalty shoot-out losers to Italy in the final of the delayed Euro 2020, having also suffered World Cup semi-final elimination at the hands of Croatia in 2018.

The Three Lions, as per FIFA's rankings, are the third-best side in the world at present – behind only World Cup holders Argentina and fellow European side France – ahead of the likes of Belgium, Brazil and Netherlands.

With Germany's Euro 2024 on the horizon, starting on June 14, former England goalkeeper James says the Three Lions should not expect to win the tournament, though have no reason to not believe if things go to plan.

He told Stats Perform: "It's a difficult one - it's almost like trying to predict this game a week before the kick-off. I think realistic success for an England team is getting to semi-finals, or ideally finals.

"I was there like many at the Euro 2020 final against Italy, and it was heartbreaking. It's literally two penalties difference between us and Italy winning.

"I think that's still a success. Of course, people want that trophy and naturally you'd like England to win the trophy.

"Italy proved it, albeit for one tournament – they haven't been any good since then – but they were the best team [in the world]. They had the best tactics and in the end they ended up winning the tournament.

"So until the tournament starts, it's difficult… whether Spain, whether Germany, as everyone always talks about being successful in tournaments, whatever.

"I just think that England go in there not expecting to win it, but knowing that there is a chance if things go right, they can win it. I'm personally cheering them on all the way."

Though England will harbour hopes of going deep into the European Championship knockout stages once again, Southgate's future at the helm remains unclear.

His contract is due to expire in December this year, with reports linking Southgate to Manchester United's managerial position after the involvement of new shareholder Jim Ratcliffe, though England insist the focus is with the next task at hand.

James believes the Football Association (FA) is ready in preparation for whatever the future holds, suggesting England's success has not solely fallen on Southgate but rather the organisation's operation process as a whole.

He added: "I think it's interesting. When you look at Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, they're two managers that are, we can talk about them as individuals, but their whole success is based on how that club is set up.

"Any replacement for Jurgen, and for Pep Guardiola as well at some point, the manager will have to fit into the club's idea of how they improve the club essentially – I think England is exactly the same.

"Gareth is at the helm at the moment as a manager, but I don't think it's just down to Gareth. I think it's down to a very, very strong network of people around him to the point that he can make a decision that he doesn't want to do it anymore or whatever, stay on.

"I think the only way that he gets asked to leave is if England do desperately bad in a tournament. Other than that, then it's his call.

"I think it's more about Gareth but whoever and whenever he's replaced, they will be going into a setup which is suited by the FA rather than the manager who's trying to set things up themselves."

As to whether Southgate's tenure would be seemed a success without silverware, James placed his backing in the England manager.

"There's a lot of people who would say that England needs to win something for him to have had a good tenure as a manager," he continued. "But I would argue that I think he's been fantastic.

"He took England to a final and a semi-final and I hope in the Euros that he can do the same. I'm confident England will do well."

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