Phil Thompson’s England warning – Don’t make the same Iceland mistake against Ukraine

Thommo has a word of warning for England ahead of Saturday's quarter-final clash.

Comments

England have great camaraderie but maybe as a team we aren’t as good as a couple of the other sides left in the competition. However, this England side is oozing confidence and it’s taking them places. It might not take you all the way to win trophies, but it gives you a huge chance!

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I was nervous for the first 10 minutes of last night’s clash as the visitors were impressive and had a lot of the ball. Germany’s wing-backs were pinning our wing-backs in own own half, so we literally had a flat back five.

Gareth Southgate got word onto the players that we needed to push on against them to cause them problems. Quite slowly, we started pushing Germany back and that was the big thing. We then gradually gained control of the game.

When I first saw the team I didn’t feel confident as I thought Gareth was looking to stay in the game until late on and then make changes in the second half. However, I have to say, it gave us a good foothold in the game and it was an excellent performance all round.

Germany are still a good team, but they’re not a great team like they used to be. Despite that, it was still a fine performance from England.

It was good for Harry Kane to get a goal too. These goalscorers thrive when they’re feeling confident. They can say all they like but it affects them mentally. There’s pressure on Kane to get goals and he just wasn’t performing.

Kane didn’t put in an amazing performance but he got that important goal. The midfield behind him was very defensive so there wasn’t a lot of creativity for him to latch onto – much like the group stage games.

Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling had fine games and hopefully this goal will release the pressure on Kane. There’s positives all round after this win.

England go into the quarter finals as clear favourites and pressure comes with that. As we saw with the Scotland game, the underdogs raise their game.

The biggest thing for Saturday’s game against the Ukraine is to tell the players that the quarter-finals is their chance to shine. They can’t waste what they’ve done against Germany. We have to use that against Ukraine.

This is the time to push on and be positive in everything you do, but don’t get caught like we did against Iceland at Euro 2016 when England slipped up. You can’t think you’re better than the opposition and then not turn up.

You have to work and work hard, both as individuals and as a unit. You will be successful if you do that.

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