THRILL TO BE WIN­NING LION

Irish Sunday Mirror - - SPORT - BY ADRIAN KAJUMBA

TOT­TEN­HAM star Dele Alli be­lieves there are ex­cit­ing times ahead for both club and coun­try.

Eng­land have kept the feel­good fac­tor go­ing by qual­i­fy­ing for next sum­mer’s Na­tions League semi-fi­nals on the back of reach­ing the last four of the World Cup in Rus­sia with boss Gareth South­gate.

The Three Lions will dis­cover their op­po­nents – from fel­low qual­i­fiers Hol­land, Switzer­land and hosts Por­tu­gal – in to­mor­row’s Dublin draw for the knock­out tour­na­ment.

Dele said: “It would mean a lot to win it. We had a great World Cup. It was dis­ap­point­ing that we didn’t get to the fi­nal or win it be­cause that’s what we went there for.

“To get so close was hard, but you can see from the re­ac­tion when we got through how much it means to us to be into the semi­fi­nals again.

“It is go­ing to be dif­fi­cult [to win it], but we are look­ing for­ward to it and it is an ex­cit­ing time for Tot­ten­ham and Eng­land.

“It feels very sim­i­lar, we have got a good, young team, head­ing in the right di­rec­tion, so it’s ex­cit­ing.”

Among the chal­lenges com­ing up for Spurs, af­ter today’s north Lon­don derby, is a Cham­pi­ons League trip to Barcelona.

Hav­ing looked dead and buried in their group, Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino (left) and Spurs have dug out back-to-back wins against PSV and In­ter Mi­lan.

Now they need a win at the home of Lionel Messi and Co in nine days to guar­an­tee a knock­out stage place.

Dele said: “We are go­ing to Barcelona with the be­lief that we can beat them.

“We played very well in the game at our place and it gives us hope, go­ing to theirs. We know how good they are, but we cre­ated a lot of chances.

“It is go­ing to be dif­fi­cult – but we be­lieve.”

RAW PAS­SION: South­gate, at the World Cup in Rus­sia, is in­spir­ing young Eng­land stars to reach new heights

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