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Gareth Southgate dismisses comparison between England’s semi-final losses in Nations League and World Cup

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Gareth Southgate has dismissed comparisons made between England’s semi-final defeats in last year’s World Cup and in the Nations League on Thursday.

Two extra-time errors from John Stones and Ross Barkley gifted the Netherlands victory as the Three Lions self-destructed in their 3-1 extra-time defeat in Portugal.

At the 2018 World Cup last summer, England surrendered a 1-0 lead against Croatia, conceding twice in the second half.

England players at full-time following their 2-1 loss to Croatia in  the 2018 World Cup semi-final

Despite suffering losses at the same stage, Southgate insists Thursday’s match in Guimaraes was a completely “different scenario”.

“I think it was a different game to the semi-final [of the World Cup],” he said.

“We had a period at the start when we couldn’t play through [Netherlands’] press as well as we should.

“But then we had a period where I think we did do that well and finished the first half on top.

“I think they had a lot of possession without ever creating a clear chance from it. All of their chances came from our mistakes. All of them.

“That was a little bit of a different scenario to last summer when we felt could have been tactically better and we stopped trying to play out.

“We certainly did not stop trying to play out the other night, whether we did it effectively is another case in point.

“The errors we made were not because we were trying to play out from the back, they were errors in decision making.

“When we played out and played well [it worked]. The move for the disallowed goal started on our byline, the move for the (Marcus) Rashford chance in the first half, we played right through the thirds of the pitch.

“We had possession with the threat to create three or four chances that actually they didn’t, but you have to give them credit for their control and how they built momentum later in the game.”

John Stones reacts after his mistake allows Netherlands to take an extra-time lead

Stones and Barkley were heavily criticised for their mistakes which led to Netherlands’ extra-time goals, but Southgate says the pair do not bare any more responsibility for the defeat than any of their team-mates.

“We haven’t had the chance to see them [Barkley and Stones] on the training pitch yet because yesterday was a recovery session,” he said on Saturday lunchtime.

“We’ll train this afternoon to give everyone the maximum chance of recovery.

“Clearly, they are disappointed but no more so than anyone else. We win and lose as a team and we all feel the pain of the defeat.

“It’s for me to support anyone that makes a mistake. We have all suffered from that.”

Ross Barkley's back-pass allowed Netherlands to score their third

England now face Switzerland in the third-place play-off on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Football, with Southgate having the opportunity to rotate and experiment with his squad.

But he says the team is duty-bound to deliver a performance that England’s travelling supporters can be proud of.

“No England international is a practice match,” he added.

“Every time you wear the shirt there is importance for you, the country and the supporters. Individuals have opportunities to impress and perform to ensure they remain in the squad.

“We want to finish the season on a good note with a healthy performance. There were a lot of aspects to our performance the other night that were very good.

“You can look at it through the perspective that we were a couple of inches in a decision away from being in a final.

“But equally, it is impossible to make as many mistakes as we did and win big matches.

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Marcus Rashford is unlikely to play against Switzerland, while Ben Chilwell and Jordan Henderson are doubts

“We can’t correct the errors of the other night but we have another opportunity to play and we have to make sure our performance is of a high level.”

Southgate confirmed Marcus Rashford is likely to miss the match after suffering an injury in Thursday’s defeat, while Ben Chilwell and Jordan Henderson are also doubts after picking up knocks.

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