England’s Rice downplays lack of goals at Euro 2020


London (AFP) – Declan Rice says too much has been made of England’s lack of goals at Euro 2020, believing they have the “world-class talent” to score more as the tournament progresses.

Gareth Southgate’s side, whose team face Germany in the last 16 at Wembley on Tuesday, topped their group despite finding the net just twice, with Raheem Sterling scoring both.

That is in sharp contrast to some of the other sides, with Italy and Belgium both scoring seven times and the Netherlands eight times in the first phase.

“I feel like some people, or most people, overthink that too much,” said midfielder Rice, pointing to the number of goals England scored in qualifying for the tournament.

“We were top of the group, we didn’t concede a goal, which was massive, and a lot of top sides conceded a lot of goals.

“And if you want to go on to win this tournament you need to have zeros.

“You need to stop the ball going in the back of the net but of course we need to flourish at the top end as well. We’ve got that world-class talent. We’ve shown that all season.”

Rice said seeing Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal against Germany at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa had been a formative experience.

Lampard’s shot crossed the line with England trailing 2-1 in the last-16 tie but it was not given and Germany went on to win 4-1.

“That will always be like a heartbreak when that goal didn’t go in for Lampard,” said the West Ham player. “I think with Germany coming up everybody knows how important it is and how focused we have to be for that game.”

Rice, 22, said he would be happy to take a penalty against Germany despite England’s painful shootout history.

“If you’d have asked me a couple of years ago I’d probably have said ‘no’ but the way I’ve started to kind of take responsibility at club level now it’s about a process in your mind that you can go up there and you can put the ball in the back of the net,” he said.

“Obviously we’ve been successful in the (2018) World Cup with a penalty shootout and also in the Nations League so as a group we know the process we have to go through.”

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