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'England can still win the World Cup by 2022'

The Three Lions’ Under-21 coach remains optimistic about their chances of winning a major tournament despite another group-stage exit for his side at the European Championship.

GARETH SOUTHGATE HAS reiterated his belief that England can win the World Cup by 2022 despite his Under-21 team’s disappointing showing at this summer’s European Championship.

The Under-21 side managed only one win – a 1-0 victory over Sweden – in the Czech Republic and finished bottom of Group B.

But Southgate remains positive about England’s chances in future major tournaments and defended the claim first made by Football Association chairman Greg Dyke.

“Yes,” Southgate told BBC Sport when asked if the 2022 target remained realistic. “I think what we need to be doing is challenging regularly in semi-finals and finals of tournaments in the next period of years.

“When you are doing that, coupled with experience at the top end of the Premier League, then there will be a challenge for a World Cup.

“That is the target that gives us a goal to aim for. It is not an unrealistic time-scale.”

This was the third consecutive major tournament in which the Under-21 side has failed to reach the knockout stages, and comes a year after England’s senior team suffered a similar fate at the World Cup in Brazil.

Originally published Thursday at 19.15

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