Russia must not be a false dawn – FA technical tsar

England’s fourth place in Russia should not be allowed to become a one-off – and the side are pushing for a top-four spot at Euro 2020, FA technical director Dan Ashworth said.

The Three Lions finished their campaign in St Petersburg on Saturday night with a 2-0 defeat to Belgium, having made it to the semi-finals at a World Cup for the first time since 1990.

Ashworth said the FA were delighted with the progress made by Gareth Southgate’s side – England were knocked out at the group stages in Brazil 2014 – but told the Mail on Sunday that England were still falling short at key moments.

Belgium v England – FIFA World Cup 2018 – Third Place Play Off – St Petersburg Stadium
England’s Harry Kane (left) and manager Gareth Southgate look dejected after the final whistle in the game against Belgium (Tim Goode/PA)

He told the paper: “I believe that we are making good progress but we don’t for one minute think that we have solved all the problems because the bottom line is that we haven’t won the World Cup.

“It’s important that we now make sure that this tournament isn’t a one-off, that it isn’t a false dawn.”

Ashworth pointed to the success of England’s development sides – England won the under-17 World Cup in India in 2017 beating Spain 5-2 in the final, while their under-20 counterparts are also world champions – as evidence the future is bright.
Speaking about Euro 2020, where the semi-finals and final will be played at Wembley, Ashworth told the Mail on Sunday: “We want to be at our own party, don’t we?

“We will review this tournament find out what we could have done a bit better, find out what we have done well, keep the things we have done well, improve on things we felt we could have done better and foot flat to the floor with Spain in the UEFA Nations League in six weeks.”

Fans watching Croatia v England
Ashworth said he wanted England to bring “something home for the country” (Martin Rickett/PA)

He added the side were “desperate” to bring something home for the country, adding: “We’ll keep pushing to do that.”

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