Gareth Southgate believes Germany’s shock exit from the World Cup proves that there is no room for complacency in international football.
Joachim Low’s side bowed out in the first round for the first time since 1938 and finished bottom of Group F following a shock 2-0 loss to South Korea in Kazan on Wednesday.
Southgate, whose England side have already qualified from Group G ahead of their third game against Belgium on Thursday, has long been an admirer of the 2014 world champions.
While admitting that he has modelled elements of his England side on Germany, Southgate says their early departure is evidence that failure to evolve will ultimately end in disappointment.
‘The margins are so fine within the matches,’ he said.
‘There really is no opportunity to rest on where you are as a team or stop the constant improvement.
‘We’ve learned an enormous amount from studying Germany as a team.
‘We learned a lot watching them last summer and we’ve actually implemented some of that. They’re a team who won the World Cup who we’ve studied very intently.
‘Indirectly I would say they’ve had a big bearing on what we’re doing now, but we know but in sport and in life you’ve got to keep evolving and improving and it just shows anyone is vulnerable on any given day.’
Having lost surprisingly to Mexico 1-0 in their opening match and then requiring a 95th-minute strike from Toni Kroos to overcome Sweden 2-1, Germany have been a shadow of their former selves in Russia.
Southgate is surprised by their failure to progress, but never thought it would be easy for them.
‘Of course I’m surprised,’ he added.
‘I was here last summer for the Confederations Cup when they brought a young team and they also won the [European] U21 final.
‘It’s been unusual to see them struggle as much as they have but the level of all of the teams is strong. They’ve played teams who have tactically been very good against them and have exposed counter-attacking situations in particular.
‘I didn’t look at that group and think automatically they would go through. They were very close to the wire against Sweden the other night. I watched some of the game there and they struggled to break South Korea down.’
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