Germany went into their home World Cup 12 years ago on the back of two successive group-stage exits in the 2000 and 2004 European Championships – although they had reached the World Cup final in 2002.
Under Jurgen Klinsmann, however, they finished third. Germany then reached the semi-finals in their next five major tournaments – winning the World Cup in 2014 – before their shock group-stage exit in Russia.
Southgate is keen for his young England team to use that Germany side as an example, saying: “I remember Germany in 2006, and it feels like we are in a similar place.
“They reconnected with the fans and showed real signs of progress. They kept progressing and making latter stages. It still took them eight years to win, but that’s got to be our ambition.
“We’ve asked the team to take on board a lot of new ways of working, and they’ve really embraced that. They’ve made so many breakthroughs throughout the tournament. We kept knocking down barriers and creating our own history.
“A lot of the lads came into the tournament with four or five caps. There’s so many things to build on now and we’ve got to make sure we do that.”
England reached the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time since 1990 under Southgate before losing in extra-time to Croatia.
Despite their disappointment at failing to reach their first final in 52 years, the manager says he wants his team to end their tournament on a high and beat Belgium in the third-place play-off.
He said: “We want to win the game. The spirit in the group is really good. We need to see if we need to add some fresh energy into the team.
“We owe it to ourselves to finish well, and we want to finish well for the fans.”