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England can use ‘hurt’ from 2018 World Cup exit as motivation against Denmark, says Maguire

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England can use the “hurt” from their 2018 World Cup semi-final defeat to Croatia as motivation for their last-four clash against Denmark at Euro 2020, says Harry Maguire.

The Manchester United defender played the full 120 minutes in Moscow three years ago as Gareth Southgate’s side were beaten 2-1 and Maguire does not want a repeat result at Wembley on Wednesday.

Live build-up to England’s Euro 2020 semi-final

Harry Maguire
Image: Harry Maguire pictured after England thrashed Ukraine 4-0 in Rome on Saturday

He told a news conference: “The motivation is there. It’s the semi-final of the European Championship. Losing the semi-final at the World Cup hurt a lot.

“So we need to make sure when it comes on Wednesday night we get a positive feeling rather than the one we got against Croatia.”

Maguire believes Southgate’s squad have improved markedly since their 2018 World Cup exit.

“I think we’re in a lot better place than we were,” he said.

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“The experience of that, we’ve learnt from it and also the experience of the games in between as well, for example the Nations League.

“We’ve had a lot of big games in that period to improve and a lot of time spent together on the training pitch, friendlies and qualifiers. Every game we play we feel we improve.

“In this tournament, from the first game to the Ukraine game, there’s a lot of differences in the principles that we’re demanding from each other.

“Of course we’re in a better place now, but we’ve still got a long way to go.”

Harry Maguire after England lost the 2018 World Cup semi-final to Croatia
Image: Maguire after England lost the 2018 World Cup semi-final to Croatia

Maguire praised Southgate and said he had all the players’ trust when it came to team selection.

“Well ever since I made my England debut I think Gareth has been brilliant for this team,” Maguire said. “He sits here and gives us all the plaudits.

“But we appreciate the job he’s doing and the way that he sets us up and his man-management skills, so I can’t speak highly enough of Gareth and his coaching staff and the way that he’s gone about his business over the last four years.

“He’s proved over the last four years that as an England manager it’s always hard to please everyone, especially the public, in terms of the way he sets up and selection.

“But we trust him. Whatever team he picks or whatever style of play he wants to go with, it’s the best one for the job.”

England manager Gareth Southgate applauds the fans after the UEFA Euro 2020 Quarter Final match at the Stadio Olimpico, Rome. Picture date: Saturday July 3, 2021.
Image: Maguire has praised England manager Gareth Southgate

And Maguire stressed England would not be underestimating Denmark, who took four points off England in their two Nations League clashes last September and October.

“It’s been really inspiring, their journey,” said Maguire, referring to Christian Eriksen’s collapse and subsequent recovery from a cardiac arrest in Denmark’s opening game of Euro 2020.

“First and foremost our thoughts have always been with Christian and his recovery and we’re all right behind that.

“They’re a good team. They’ve proved that for years, they’re a top team, the highest-ranked team we will have played in this competition.

“They’re a strong team with great leaders in their team, great experience. We know it will be a tough game, but we’re really focused on ourselves.”

The winner of Wednesday’s match will face either Italy or Spain in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday.