Declan Rice believes Gareth Southgate’s rampant England has given France something to worry about ahead of the World Cup teams quarter-final in Doha this Saturday.
The West Ham midfielder had another good evening as England beat Senegal at the Al Bayt Stadium and believes the Southgate side have nothing to fear ahead of their meeting with the world champions.
When asked if France should be afraid of England, Rice replied, “Yes, I’ve said it all along.” I don’t think we get the credit we deserve in our performances.
Declan Rice says countries should ‘fear’ England after their impressive World Cup shows
Rice enjoyed another good night as the Three Lions reached the quarter-finals with a 3-0 victory
“I think if you look at other teams, like the Netherlands and Argentina, they win their games comfortably and get masterclasses.
‘It is always stolen with us. The negative things always come that way.
“If you look at the last few games, it was flawless. I think, as I said the other day, countries should be afraid of us now because we are a great team.’
After four games of this World Cup, England has scored the most goals and kept the most clean sheets.
“We’re silencing the critics,” Rice said. At the start of the tournament there was a lot of talk that we are not scoring enough goals.
“That’s another one we’ve kept people quiet about. There was a lot of focus on defense and goals conceded, but it was solid.
Rice was part of a team that has scored the most goals and kept the most clean sheets
“We keep building and pushing.”
Rice is part of a new three-man England midfield featuring Jude Bellingham and Jordan Henderson to see England through the tournament.
Borussia Dortmund teenager Bellingham was again the star of the show against Senegal and Rice added: ‘He is thriving on the main stage. It makes me happy to see that.
“When you have a player like that who is so strong and athletic and creates the chances that he creates, it really helps. He’s been doing it for Dortmund all season and now he’s doing it for us.
“I thought it was a real collective team effort across the field.
“These are the games we want to play now. They only come by once. England v France, quarter final, it doesn’t get any bigger.
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“We now have six days to prepare and I am sure the world will be watching.
‘We really want to move forward.’
If England can beat France to reach the last four of the World Cup, it would be Southgate’s side’s third consecutive semi-final.
England lost to Croatia in the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup before succumbing to Italy in the Euro 2020 final three years later on penalties.
Rice thinks this team is an improvement over either version, saying, “We pushed so well as a team. “We are really together now on the field and off the field.
“We complement each other really well as a team. The guys I play with in midfield really complement each other.
“The guys up front, Gareth can bring in an attacker and nothing changes.
“And the back four have been absolutely solid. We are building a very nice base, but it’s up to us now.
England will have to stop Antoine Greizmann and Kylian Mbappé on Saturday, among others
“There’s no point whining tonight if we can’t push through and beat France.”
Previous criticism of England has centered on Southgate’s perceived negativity as a coach, but Rice thinks this team is slowly moving on to that.
“There is always a lot of talk about our use of the ball against the big teams,” he added.
“I think we have control in almost every game in this tournament. We had a fair amount of possession, we moved it really well.
Rice believes England’s performance puts to bed previous criticism of Gareth Southgate’s (left) perceived negativity in his managerial style at the World Cup
“The opening phase was very shaky because teams were really trying to stop us from playing.
“But once we reach that goal, they have to change. It opens up and then you really start to see us play.
“Against France we saw some weaknesses that we can try to exploit. It’s set up for a great game.”