Gareth Southgate believes “history is an irrelevance” for England when they face Germany in the last 16 of Euro 2020 on Tuesday.
England have suffered heartbreak against Germany in previous tournaments, from penalty shootout defeats in the 1990 World Cup and Euro 96 to Frank Lampard’s ‘ghost goal’ at the 2010 World Cup.
But Southgate, who missed a penalty against Germany in 1996, doesn’t think the past will count for anything for his players at Wembley.
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"I don't need to demystify it," said the England manager about the rivalry. "The history is an irrelevance for them.
"We've got boys born into the 2000s, which is obviously scary but it's the reality of the group we're dealing with.
"It's of no consequence to them what we did in, you know, Peter Bonetti in 1970 [when West Germany beat England 3-2 in Mexico] and what happened in 1990 and so on.
"Of course, they're watching that stuff and getting a bit of an understanding of it but it's not something we're speaking to them about.
"This team have put down lots of historical performances in the last couple of years, made their own history, made their own stories and this is how they should view this game.
"It's an opportunity. We've only won one knockout match in a European Championship as a country, so they've got a great chance to go and be the first team since 1996 to do that."
England finished top of their group and didn’t concede a goal in three games, while Germany rescued qualification in a dramatic last match against Hungary.
Although England have only scored two goals so far, Southgate is hopeful they will improve in attack as the tournament progresses.
"Those things are always our ambition," he said when asked about playing with more freedom and speed.
I mean we've played four attacking players in the matches we've played so far. We don't say to the players 'don't play the ball forward', 'don't move the ball quickly', 'don't attack'.
"I don't think you'd have found any of those messages in our preparation for any of the games, so very often the opposition dictate a lot of the things you're allowed to do in football matches.
"We know that we want to be better with the ball and we want to move the ball more quickly and we've got to build on the solidity that we've shown already to this point."
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