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Harry Maguire says anything less than victory at Euro 2024 will be "failure" and believes England would beat France more often than they'd lost if they played 10 times. The centre-half also backed Gareth Southgate for fostering "hope and belief" in the squad, as he reflected on a "very brave" display in the 2-1 win over Italy.
That victory marked another historic landmark for the team, having not won in the country since 1961, and Maguire feels England are now in that top bracket of nations that has been led by France.
"We're in a good place, we felt like it was in a good place at the World Cup,” Maguire said. “But these big tournaments are decided on the finest margins. I think we played really well in the World Cup and ultimately, we got knocked out to a good French team - a French team that we believe we can take on and if we play them 10 times, we would give them a good game 10 times and probably win more than we lose.
"However, they've proven over the years that they manage to get the job done better than England do. So it's something that we're working on. But of course, we have to look at our team now and our squad. We have so much talent and so many young players coming through. I think for me, at my age as well, 30 years old now and I'm with a mindset of, ‘If we don't win the tournament, it's been a failure'.
“Obviously, we've got to qualify first - I mean it's a tough group, obviously come here and, and got an amazing result. But that's my mindset. I mean, I've been at three major tournaments now and I've come so close. So my mindset is obviously I believe that we have the players to win it."
Maguire was asked whether that meant there were any regrets about the World Cup but, rather than feel the quarter-final elimination was any reflection on the team or Southgate, the Manchester United captain instead said it was the opposite.
"Obviously we went into Qatar wanting to win the tournament. So ultimately, when we get knocked out as a squad we are disappointed, I think the performances were good, we kept the most clean sheets at the tournament, we were one of the top goalscorers despite going out in the quarter-final,” he said.
"It's just those fine margins weren't with us in Qatar, that can happen in these major tournaments. I'm speaking on behalf of myself but I know from speaking to the other lads as well, they were really pleased that Gareth stayed.
"We've built something as a group and he's been the leader of it. I must say that he's been the one who's given us hope and given us belief as a country to be successful in these major tournaments and I feel like for sure we benefit."