Lingard: Making it to the UEFA Nations League finals is ‘what we want’

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For the second time in five months, the England National Team is in the final four of an international competition.

England enacted some measure of revenge against Croatia on Sunday, completing an impressive 2-1 comeback victory over the World Cup finalists which beat England in the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Substitute Jesse Lingard scored the game-tying goal before Harry Kane finished the winner in the 85th minute. It’s the latest success for an England National Team program that saw its teams win the FIFA Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups in 2017.

“It’s good, this is what we want, to play against the best teams in the world, to compete against the best and show our ability,” Lingard said following the game. “For us its another test, another semifinal. We’ve learned from Russia and we know what the job at hand is.”

It was a rollercoaster of emotions as England overcame a second half deficit to advance to the finals of the UEFA Nations League. For the first 56 minutes of the match, a scoreless draw was enough for England to stave off relegation while Spain would have advanced to the finals. However, Andrej Kramaric‘s looping goal in the 57th minute took the air out of Wembley Stadium, with England then needing two goals to survive relegation themselves.

Lingard, who came on 73rd minute, made an instant difference, along with winger Jadon Sancho, and Lingard came up with the game-tying goal four minutes after coming on.

“(Southgate) was just saying, as a sub you’ve gotta change the game,” Lingard said, “and the position I play in, I’ve got to get in the box as much as possible, get forward, make forward runs and try and change the game.”

Lingard was in the area in the 85th minute as Ben Chilwell delivered a terrific left-footed free kick into the box, one that was finished by Kane, leading to wild celebrations, ones that Lingard avoided earlier due to the situation of England needing two goals. Lingard, who some have nicknamed “Worldie” due to his propensity to score terrific goals, finished with a tap-in, but he’ll take it every day of the week.

“We were speaking about it the other day, me and Marcus (Rashford), (and he said) ‘you never score tap ins’, “Lingard said, “but I’ll take them all day long.”