England want to win Euro 2020 group says Kieran Trippier despite Germany, Portugal threat
Kieran Trippier insists England are targeting top place in Group D on Tuesday night despite the dubious reward for doing so being a possible Euro 2020 last-16 showdown with the world or European champions.
Victory over the Czech Republic at Wembley will earn England a last-16 knockout tie against the runners-up from Group F – the group of death – which could mean France or Portugal or even Germany.
But rather than taking the low road, as they did to the semi-final at the 2018 World Cup after an advantageous defeat to Belgium, England want the home advantage group winner status would confer.
“We want to finish first,” said full-back Trippier, who was part of the England side beaten 2-1 by the Czechs in Prague eight months ago.
“No matter who you play in the tournament is going to be tough. We just need to believe in ourselves and give everything against whoever we play.
“We’re in a good position on four points so we need to go into Tuesday with a winning mindset to get the three points.
“We know we were beaten by them and could have done better when we played them last time but Tuesday is going to be a different game and a different team to what we had back then and we will be ready.”
It has been a topsy-turvy tournament for England so far with their much-vaunted attack stilted and their suspect defence impregnable.
They are one of only three sides remaining at the tournament who have yet to concede a goal – and this despite rotating both full-backs for the Scotland match after the win over Croatia.
“I played the first game, I didn’t play the second game but we have so much quality to come into the side we knew whoever was going to step in would do a good job. Everyone knows the roles,” said Trippier.
Misfiring Harry Kane meanwhile still has the backing of the England squad to score the goals to take them deep into Euro 2020.
While critics outside the England camp have been quick to latch on to two sub-standard performances from the England captain in the opening two days, Raheem Sterling laughed off suggestions that his place in the team should be up for consideration.
“For goalscoring, for me, if not the best striker in the world, he’s up there, no question about it,” Sterling said.
“He hasn’t scored in two games. That’s not that serious. It’s two games and I’m sure when whether when we need him most, he’s going to score. That’s not a question in my mind.
“We as a team, of course, need to produce more for him – more crosses in the box. But it’s two games gone by, of course he’s a player who knows he can score in every single game.
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“He will be the first person to be disappointed but at the same I know when it’s crunch time Harry will be there, that’s for sure.”
A draw against Czech Republic guarantees Gareth Southgate’s side second in the group, while winning will give them top spot.
Even if England lose, Scotland win and there is a three-goal swing in goal-difference, the Three Lions are likely to be one of the four third-placed teams to qualify.
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