Declan Rice insists England haven’t got ‘the credit we deserve’ after finishing top of their group in a World Cup with ‘a lot of shocks’… as the Three Lions star claims he is ‘ready’ to up his level in the knockout rounds
England got off to a flying start in Qatar by thrashing Iran 6-2 in their opening match, but were then held to a dire 0-0 draw by USA, prompting criticism from fans and the media.
They bounced back to swat aside Wales 3-0, securing their spot in the last 16 as group winners, and Rice believes the team deserves praise for navigating the first stage of the tournament with minimal fuss, while other nations such as Argentina and Germany have slipped to surprise defeats.
England finished top of their group to move into the last 16 with relative ease in Qatar
Declan Riuce thinks the team deserve more credit for navigating their group well
‘There’s been a lot of shocks in this tournament. You can’t take anything for granted,’ Rice said in a press conference on Thursday.
‘That’s why we are doing so well. We aren’t getting the credit we deserve. There could have been a banana skin for us in any of our three games but we did well in all of them.
‘You are seeing big nations lose. We have never been in a situation where we feel under pressure. We have always felt in control of our group.’
Senegal await England in the first knockout round after finishing second in Group A.
Having lost their first game against the Netherlands, Senegal beat Qatar and Ecuador, and they are expected to provide England with their toughest test to date.
Rice has insisted he is ‘ready’ to raise his game as the tournament progresses in Qatar
Rice is relishing the prospect of playing knockout football at a World Cup for the first time, and has backed himself to raise his game as the pressure ramps up.
‘When you play bigger teams your level starts to go up,’ he continued.
‘They are the biggest games you want to play in and they are the games that get remembered for ever. And when that moment comes, I will be ready.’