England are not bothered by the “noise” from outside the camp ahead of Tuesday’s final Euro 2020 Group D match against the Czech Republic as they focus their efforts on qualifying for the knockout rounds, forward Raheem Sterling said.
England kicked off their campaign with a 1-0 win over 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia but were held to a goalless draw by Scotland in the second match.
Gareth Southgate’s team are second in their group on four points, behind the Czechs on goal difference, and a draw would see both teams advance regardless of the outcome of the game between Croatia and Scotland, who are both on one point.
“I do feel there’s a bit of an over-reaction on the whole,” Sterling told British media on Sunday. “I just feel there’s more of a panic on the outside than inside the building.
“I don’t see anyone in the camp that feels any pressure or feels hard done by. As much as we can inside the building the best thing we can do is focus on the training field, focus on what’s being doing inside.
“We really shouldn’t be looking what the papers are saying, what pundits are saying. That’s something we need to take for the rest of this tournament, the more you listen to outside noise, the more it can affect you.”
Patrik Schick has carried the Czechs to the top of Group D with three goals, but going further in the tournament will require others to start finding the back of the net, captain Vladimir Darida said on Monday.
Bayer Leverkusen forward Schick is joint top scorer in the tournament with Cristiano Ronaldo with his three goals, including a stunning strike from just inside the halfway line against Scotland. He is also the only Czech player to score so far in the tournament.
“You can hardly have just one player pull the whole team that far,” Darida said. “The rest of us need to shoot more often even from a distance and get to the box more and be productive.”
“We are a team who can play at a high pace. We don’t want to be passive and don’t want to draw back. That could be our weapon.”
The Czechs sit top of the table on four points, ahead of England on goal difference, and a draw would see both teams advance regardless of the outcome of the game between Croatia and Scotland, who are both on one point.
Both Darida and coach Jaroslav Silhavy said they were not looking to finish second in the group to avoid a potential match-up with the runner-up in Group F, which could mean facing Portugal, Germany or France.
“We can only influence our own results and if we are successful we do not need to look at other teams,” Silhavy said.
The Czechs return to Wembley where they were hammered 5-0 by England in qualification for the tournament but won the return match in Prague 2-1 – a result that took a huge physical effort the players will need to replicate on Tuesday, Silhavy said.
He also expects to see a vastly improved England side from their first two games, which included an opening 1-0 win over Croatia and a drab 0-0 draw against Scotland. The Czechs beat Scotland 2-0 and drew 1-1 with Croatia.
“At the beginning teams might not be at their best but then their form improves,” Silhavy said. “England are one of those teams.”
He added that doubling up on Harry Kane would be needed to shut down the England captain, while containing the speed of Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling on the wings was also key.
“Harry Kane is a world-class player,” Silhavy said. “We will have to double-team him, close him down well and not allow him any space.”
“This is true for all their attacking players. We must not allow them to sprint into space because they are unstoppable then. We must double-team them before they get to the penalty area.”