Group D winners England take on Group F runner-up Germany on Tuesday at Wembley as the historic rivalry is renewed in a major tournament for the first time since the 2010 World Cup.
West Ham midfielder Rice, who started each of England’s group stage games with 1-0 wins over Croatia and the Czech Republic on both sides of a draw and goalless against Scotland, suggested that confidence was high in the English camp.
“What is there really to fear? Obviously, yeah, they’re great players, but it’s a football game, ”Rice said.
“It’s 90 minutes – we have players who can win us games and they have players who can also win games.
“It’s going to be a real battle there, but one that we’re going to be ready for and one that we’re really positive for and ready for. “
Of the 16 teams that will advance to the round of 16, England’s two-goal tally is the least scored by the remaining teams, but Rice insisted an improvement in the final third is imminent.
“We are not worried,” he said.
“It’s two goals – we know as a team we can score more, especially with the world class talent that we have, but it will come, I’m sure it will happen in the next two rounds.
“As the tournament progresses, I feel like we’re really going to step it up. “
“Mount and Chilwell could resume training this weekend”
England were without Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell for their final group stage game against the Czech Republic after the duo were forced into self-isolation under coronavirus rules.
Mount and Chilwell were seen as close contacts with Scottish midfielder Billy Gilmour – who later tested positive for Covid-19 – after spending time talking to their Chelsea teammate after their 0-0 draw last Friday .
It was initially understood that the duo would not be allowed out of isolation until England’s game day against Germany, but Rice has hinted that an earlier return appears to be under discussion pending. negative test results.
“I spoke to him yesterday [Thursday] – he tested negative again, ”Rice said of his former Chelsea academy teammate and friend.
“He kept himself in shape in the gym I think also by riding the bike and everything, but hopefully we can get him out I think maybe tomorrow or the next day, obviously with the negative test.
“So that would be a huge boost, and obviously Chilwell’s comeback would also be a positive boost for us. “
Redknapp: Southgate needs more flair and excitement on the side
Before England renew their rivalry with Germany, Sky Sports’ Jamie Redknapp says Gareth Southgate’s side need more flair and excitement than they showed in the groups.
Redknapp said: “He has to get the formula right, pick the right players and put a little more flair and excitement into the squad. What you don’t want to do is come out of this tournament having only scored two goals given that we got such an exciting group of players.
“Since we have such a young and talented team, what you don’t want to do is think about playing with the handbrake and with a little fear. It’s not what everyone wants to see. When Jack Grealish collided with the Czech Republic, there was a collective sigh inside the stadium.
“Whatever happens now, let’s go. Let’s get out some punches rather than playing too cautiously. Let’s go show what we are capable of and give the team the opportunity to go and prove it. “