Euro 2024: England not on easy side of draw – Marc Guéhi

Marc Guéhi has insisted “there is no favourable side of the draw” after England avoided France, Spain, Germany and Portugal in their potential route to the Euro 2024 final.

Gareth Southgate’s side will face Slovakia in Sunday’s round-of-16 tie in Gelsenkirchen after finishing top of Group C despite three underwhelming performances so far.

Only Georgia (No.74) occupy a lower rank than Slovakia (No.48) of the teams left in the competition and England cannot now face two in-form teams in Spain and Germany or defending champions France until the final in Berlin on July 14.

Asked for his views England’s draw, Guéhi told a news conference: “About the draw, I think everyone has seen in this competition that I don’t think there is a favourable side of the draw.

“Every team, every opponent that you come up against is really tough to play against. But I think we just need to remain calm. That’s the environment we set ourselves. We put pressure on ourselves but it is a calm and focused environment and we just need to focus on one thing at a time.

“We haven’t done any team analysis on them [Slovakia] but we all watch the games and we know they are a really good side. They came third in the group and qualified. They have got some really good players in their side — [Stanislav] Lobotka being one, the obvious one from Napoli — but a lot of good players.

“It is going to be another tough challenge to deal with. We just have to be ready for those challenges and match whatever intensity they bring. What builds confidence is togetherness, performances, the fact we haven’t lost a game yet which I think is really important.

“All the other things we can’t really control. I think it is just important that we just control what we can control — that’s remaining calm, focused and dealing with whatever obstacles are in front of us.”

Guéhi, who has arguably been England’s best player at Euro 2024, also defended Southgate from recent criticism of England’s performances with some fans booing him and throwing beer cups in his direction after Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Slovenia.

Southgate has guided England to the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup, the Euro 2020 final and the 2022 World Cup quarterfinal since taking charge eight years ago and his future is set to be decided after this summer’s finals.

“He’s been fantastic,” Guéhi, who has now amassed 13 caps since his debut against Switzerland in March 2022, said.

“I think if you look at his record, it speaks for itself. Everyone is behind the manager, that’s for sure. We’ve got a really close, tight-knit group. We’re just focused on the next game and I think everyone is just really appreciative of the manager, especially me.

“Him giving me my debut for England, showing so much confidence in me, I’m really grateful and I’m sure the rest of the team is as well.”