Southgate ´got everything spot on´ in England defeat, says Rice

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Declan Rice gave his backing to England manager Gareth Southgate as his players took responsibility for Saturday’s agonising World Cup quarter-final defeat to France.

England lost 2-1 to the world champions despite long periods in which they controlled the game at Al Bayt Stadium.

Harry Kane’s penalty cancelled out Aurelien Tchouameni’s opener, but a second spot-kick from the Three Lions captain sailed over the crossbar after Olivier Giroud had restored France’s lead.

Rice felt England “handled the occasion well” and were undone by “two goals that you don’t really see us concede”.

For that reason, the midfielder felt it was unfair to place any blame at Southgate’s door following another missed opportunity at a major tournament.

“I hope he stays. There’s a lot of talk around that,” Rice said. “I think he’s been brilliant for us, and there’s been a lot of criticism that’s not deserved.

“He’s taken us so, so far, further than what people would expect.

“Tonight, he got everything spot on. It’s not on him. The tactics were spot on. We played the right way, we were aggressive, we stopped [Kylian] Mbappe – he was quiet – and it was two goals against the run of play.

“That isn’t down to the manager, it’s down to the players on the pitch. I really hope he stays.”

Rice believed England’s performance was evidence of their progress under Southgate, who is set to take some time to consider his future.

“We really believed that this year could be our year,” he said. “We got to the Euros final, and we’ve really progressed as a team over the past few years.

“We weren’t over-confident, but we were confident we could go out there tonight and beat France. That’s the mentality switch England have not had over the years.

“I think we dominated the game. Other than their two goals, I don’t really remember them creating much. We played some great football, and it’s a game of small margins.

“We win together and we lose together; it’s just obviously really hard to process it.”



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