Former Three Lions defender says it will take ‘something really special and spectacular’ for Gareth Southgate’s side to reach the bottom eight
The Three Lions advanced to the knockout stages of Euro 2020 as Group D winners after beating the Czech Republic 1-0 at Wembley on Tuesday night with Raheem Sterling scoring the decisive goal after just 12 minutes.
Gareth Southgate’s men finished the pool with seven points and three clean sheets under their belt, but will face a much more difficult test in the next round, and Neville has warned that they will have to raise their level of play to go higher. far in the competition. .
What was said?
“It will probably be Germany or France, maybe Portugal,” said the former England defender. Air sports when evaluating his country’s potential opponents in the round of 16. “We are in a good position. Deep down we have a giant squad to face next Tuesday, but in terms of the work we were asked to do in the group stage, the players and the manager did this in a comfortable way, keeping the sheets clean. clean.
“But reality will kick in for these players later in the week, they have a giant game on Tuesday. This is an event in itself and one that would elevate confidence beyond belief if they were to win. But winning those games against a team like France or Germany takes on something really special and spectacular.
“We would be huge outsiders against France, against Germany, we have an opportunity, Portugal even more. You can’t have more than a 50-50 chance against Germany and Portugal, for France I would be 70-30 against, it’s not being negative or pessimistic, it’s realistic.
“Look at the sheet of the France team and tell me how many English players would be ahead of Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Karim Benzema, Raphael Varane. They have a damn good team. All of England’s potential opponents have good players and while we have to be confident we have to realize that our opponents will also be confident and it will be difficult to win. “
Who is England most likely to face?
England are set to play against Group F finalists at Wembley on June 29, which as it stands would be age-old rivals Germany – which is one point behind group leader France in three .
However, Portugal are only one place lower than Germany on goal difference before their last game against France, and Hungary still have an outside chance of grabbing second place if they manage to. create a surprise against Joachim Low’s team on Wednesday night.
Neville’s praise for Grealish, Saka and Maguire
England were criticized for their lack of adventure in the final third in their 1-0 win over Croatia and 0-0 draw with Scotland, but Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka gave them new momentum after have obtained their first starts against the Czech Republic.
“The performances of Grealish, Saka and Sterling gave everyone a boost in the first half and there was a lot more energy in the game and we looked a lot more balanced,” said Neville. about the impact of the duo.
“It brought energy to the performance in general and all of a sudden the rest of the players looked energetic with them. These three players moved so quickly like buzzing bees and everything seemed more enthusiastic. “
Elsewhere, Harry Maguire added extra steel to the defense in his first outing since recovering from a serious ankle injury, and Neville believes his continued presence will be crucial as the tournament winds down. warms up.
“It was essential that Maguire returned last night. Tyrone Mings did very well, but there was a level of order with Maguire on the ball, ”added the Manchester United legend. “We have seen over the past 12 months with empty stadiums that he is making his voice heard and that he will dig up his teammates.
“With Harry Kane and Jordan Henderson not playing all the time at the moment, Maguire is the figurehead on the pitch that this England team needs. “