All-round, great team performance: Raheem Sterling on beating Germany

Sterling opened the scoring before skipper Harry Kane netted the second as England beat Germany 2-0 in the round-of-16 of Euro 2020.

Raheem Sterling celebrates his goal against Germany; Credit: [email protected]

England produced a memorable performance on Tuesday, beating Germany 2-0 in the round-of-16 of Euro 2020. It was England’s first knockout match victory over Germany since the 1966 World Cup final. However, the Three Lions had to dig deep to cross the finish line, which was not easy at times. Jordan Pickford made brilliant saves from Timo Werner and Kai Havertz on either side of half-time before Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane scored late goals to secure a place in the competition’s last eight. Next up is a match against Ukraine for England in the last eight.

After the match, players like Sterling, Declan Rice, Jack Grealish and Harry Maguire told BBC Sport how much this victory meant for them. Sterling said, “We knew we needed a big performance against a difficult side, and we did that today. Doing it for your country is always special. For half a second I thought ‘let it not be offside’, but I’m so happy it went in.”

“We knew the intensity we could play at, not a lot of teams can deal with it. We kept going, (Declan) Rice and (Kalvin) Phillips ate up ground and were animals in there. All-round, great team performance. We take it game by game, we go away, recover and get focused onto the next one.”

Rice calls it incredible

Rice has formed a lethal midfield partnership with Kalvin Phillips in this tournament so far. Sitting in front of the backline, both players have been rock solid for England, offering protection to their defence and adequately contributing to the attacking play as well. “It’s incredible. A lot of people, you looked at the group-stage games, had written us off with complaints about the performances, not scoring enough goals,” Rice added.

“But as players you put that to the back of your mind, and I think we did that today. With a full house, everyone had that fire in their belly, to go out there and, for one, knock Germany out of the tournament, but, for us, progress to the next round.”

The West Ham United midfielder was happy that his team made the most out of this opportunity to reach the last eight. “It’s history. In the press conferences we’ve all been asked about the previous games, but today we’ve created our own bit of history,” he added. “Gary Neville was saying last night how these things don’t come around often, but we’ve made the most of that opportunity. It was a pleasure to be out there on the pitch.”

Grealish: It’s not about me

Jack Grealish was the super-sub who made the difference on Tuesday. After playing a crucial role in the opening goal, the Aston Villa attacker set up Kane for the second goal. “I loved it. It’s not about me, it’s about the team, I just came on and tried to create,” Grealish said. “I’ve played a part in the first goal and made the second, so I think it was a good performance from me!

“The manager just told me to go out and express myself, play with a smile on my face, and I did that. It’s hard for [Harry Kane]. He’s our most talked-about player, our best player, teams are going to double up on him and try to get him out of the game. But when the game opened up at the end, when Luke gave it me I was going to shoot on my left, but I saw H in the box and crossed it for him.”

Meanwhile, Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire said, “It’s been a tough couple of years for everyone in this country, so to put smiles back on faces, we’re not done yet – we’ve got another game on Saturday. We had to be brave on and off the ball, take it under pressure.”

“We changed formation to put pressure on them with the ball, they like to play with possession, we wanted to go man-for-man all over the pitch and I thought apart from the first 10 minutes, we executed that well.”

Sportslumo Desk

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