England manager Gareth Southgate has opted to keep a small personal guest-list for his side’s World Cup semi-final against Croatia after deciding “big matches are a bit like weddings”.
Asked at his eve-of-match press call if he had been inundated by requests for tickets to England’s biggest match in a generation, Southgate revealed he had only invited his loved ones to Moscow.
Having previously likened the team’s relationship with the travelling media as a “strained family holiday”, he returned to a similar analogy.
“I always think big matches are a bit like weddings,” he said.
“You have a day reception and then an evening and you have to make a decision who comes in the day and then in the evening. It’s impossible to make those decisions without upsetting half of your friends.
“It’s a very short change around and the travel is a bit more complicated so, quite simply, I’ve just got my family coming.”
Southgate, though, has not forgotten others who have assisted him as a player, manager and person, adding: “Whenever you are involved in a tournament like this you think about those who have helped along the way: every coach and teacher, players I’ve played with… I’ve had lovely messages from people who have had a big influence in my life.
“You’re always conscious of those who have helped you, and my parents before them… those who were there for you in difficult times, as well as when things were going well.”