England manager Gareth Southgate hopes his team can ride the momentum generated by their run to the World Cup semi-finals and follow the path Germany took to the top of international football.
Southgate and his players have been hailed back home after reaching the last four for the first time since 1990, and for bringing together a nation bitterly divided over Brexit.
“They see a team that leaves everything on the pitch, which they have, and played with style. I think the public have enjoyed it,” Southgate said before Saturday’s third place play-off against Belgium.
“They’ve got to know the players a little bit better and realised the perception is different from the reality. I feel there’ll be an affinity and something we can build on.”
He used the example of the feel-good aspect of Germany’s performance at the 2006 finals, where the hosts – with a young team like the current England crop – won over a nation despite losing to Italy in the semi-finals.
“The youth and enthusiasm of the team propelled them back into the minds of their public,” said Southgate.
“The downside was it took them another eight years to win (the World Cup). I’m not looking for eight years by the way but internationally you have to wait every two years.
“We’ll be stronger then because of age and big-match experiences that build resilience.”
Bobby Robson and Terry Venables, the last two men to lead England to semi-finals – at the 1990 World Cup and Euro 96 – left their jobs immediately afterwards.
However, Southgate has a contract until 2020, which could be extended until beyond the 2022 World Cup, giving England stability.