England won't try to finish second in Group D insists Raheem Sterling

Home advantage is crucial says Manchester City star as they go all out to win Group D

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 10:17 am

Raheem Sterling says that England won’t be trying to finish second in Group D in order to ensure an easy last 16 game.

The Three Lions currently sit second in the group ahead of Tuesday night’s game against Czech Republic, who top the table.

Winning the group will guarantee a last-16 tie at Wembley, though it will be against one of France, Germany or Portugal.

Scotland's defender Stephen O'Donnell shakes hands with England's forward Raheem Sterling after the Group D draw between England and Scotland at Wembley Stadium.
Scotland's defender Stephen O'Donnell shakes hands with England's forward Raheem Sterling after the Group D draw between England and Scotland at Wembley Stadium.

Finishing second would offer an easier game on paper, though in Copenhagen, and Sterling says home advantage could be crucial.

“There is always an advantage being on home soil, that’s for sure,” he said.

“With the fans raring and making it a hostile place to come, I do think it can be a good advantage. We’ve got four points, I keep stressing we’ve got four points and we’ve got one game to go and we’re going to need our fans on Tuesday to get us across the line.

England's potential Euro 2020 schedule.

“We haven’t spoken on that (the permutations of finishing second). The objective is to try and win the group and that’s it.”

England were booed from the field on Friday night by some fans after the disappointing 0-0 draw against Scotland, and there was a backlash from some media and fans against Gareth Southgate and his players after the positivity from their win over Croatia in the opening game.

Sterling believes there has been a “panic” from outside the camp and insists his squad know not to listen to the outside noise.

“I do feel there’s a bit of an overreaction on the whole in terms of I don’t know if it’s… I just feel there’s more of a panic on the outside than inside the building,” the Manchester City forward said.

“At the same the players who have been at a few tournaments, who have huge experience, try to help the other ones.

“I don’t see anyone in the camp that feels any pressure or feels hard done by. As much as we can inside the building the best thing we can do is focus on the training field, focus on what’s being doing inside.

“We really shouldn’t be looking what’s the papers are saying, what pundits are saying.

“That’s something we need to take for the rest of this tournament, the more you listen to outside noise, the more it can affect you.

“If you’re not really looking into that the better it is for you as an individual and as a collective as well.

“We don’t really, I’m not saying on the outside it’s negativity, but we don’t want any negativity creeping in and performance levels dropping, and confidence levels dropping, and that’s all that it will do.”

On the Wembley crowd booing, he added: “I feel the fans have an expectation of us with the players we have in the squad and that is rightly so.

“But as you can see from different games in the tournament, not just in our group but other groups as well, it is tricky in international football. It is not as easy as people think.”