England's golden generation better than 'lucky' Gareth Southgate lads - Garba Lawal

Comments (0)
Gareth Southgate England Croatia
A potential third-place finish is not enough to win the former Super Eagle over, with the superstars still held in regards

With talks of 'It is coming home' finally laid to rest, no thanks to Croatia's bold display to hand England a heartbreaking semi-final loss, Nigeria ex-international Garba Lawal has weighed in on the English setup he believes is the best.

Mario Mandzukic's extra-time goal at the Luzhniki Stadium saw the Croats book their first ever final spot at the World Cup, thus, ending England's chances of securing a first diadem since their maiden triumph in 1966.

Lawal, who watched from the sidelines as the Super Eagles battled to a famous goalless draw against the famed Three Lions golden generation in their opener at the 2002 edition of the tournament in Japan, believes the squad opportune to call upon the likes of David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard to name a few is better than 'lucky' Gareth Southgate setup.

Beckham PS

However, the superstars - majorly managed by Sven-Göran Eriksson - failed to translate their successes at club level to the national team. Quarter-final exits at three successive major tournaments - 2002 and 2006 World Cups and Euro 2004 - was their biggest feat.

But, according to Lawal - in spite of the current squad pulling a surprise in Russia; their debut outing - that does not take away the shine off his contemporaries.

"I don't think these ones are better than those people," Lawal told Goal.

"Those ones they just don't have luck. Because they had fantastic players. No doubts about that.

"Is it Scholes? Lampard? Gerrard? Those are great players.

"Of course, I rate the [golden generation] higher than these ones."


On whether he was surprised a seemingly tired Croatia usurped the Three Lions to book a place in the final of the World Cup, Lawal says he is not as Zlatko Dalic's men are a better team, 'tactically and technically'.

The former Elfsborg utility player also picked out the left wing-back as England's weak spot on Wednesday.

"I wasn't surprised because the Croatians are tactically sound. They are a better side than England, it's evident in the way they play," he continued.

"They play with maturity.

"They have lot of experienced players because if you look at them how they attack, it's 100% from the right side - Ashely Young's side.

Article continues below

"Young is not a natural left-back, so always try to counter from there. So, when Danny Rose came on it changed a lot of things. But I liked the way the Croatians play right from day one. They are very good tactically and technically.

"It's not about speed, it's about team play. And right from day one, the Croatians have been improving and now they are playing good."

On Saturday, England fight for the best third country in the world when they face Belgium in the losers' final, with France and Croatia to battle for supremacy at the Luzhniki Stadium the next day.