Harry Maguire revels in putting ‘smiles on fans’ faces’ again after ‘a tough couple of years for the country’ as England beat Germany in Euro 2020 last-16… while defender hails Gareth Southgate for victory as ‘the game plan worked perfectly’
- England beat Germany 2-0 at Wembley to move into the Euro 2020 last eight
- Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane scored in front of a 45,000 Wembley crowd
- Harry Maguire hailed the Three Lions supporters for the raucous atmosphere
- The defender also hailed Gareth Southgate for his ‘excellent’ game plan
- Maguire says England will not be complacent for their last eight tie with Ukraine
Harry Maguire hailed the England fans who attended their 2-0 victory over Germany at Wembley for creating ‘an atmosphere football deserves’ on Tuesday night.
The Three Lions beat their arch-rivals in front of a 45,000-strong crowd thanks to late goals from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane to move into the Euro 2020 quarter-finals, where they will face Ukraine on Saturday night.
Maguire, who helped England to a fourth straight clean sheet at the tournament, admitted it was nice to bring a smile back to the faces of the country after ‘a tough couple of years’ for everyone.
Harry Maguire praised England fans for a raucous atmosphere in their 2-0 win over Germany
The Three Lions moved into the quarter-final stage of Euro 2020 by beating their arch-rivals
The defender said: ‘That felt like a proper football match, the first time I have felt it in a long time. That was the atmosphere we were missing and the atmosphere football deserves.
‘It is magnificent to get the fans back in the stadium, of course to put a smile on their faces after a tough couple of years for everyone in the country.
‘We knew the pressure of coming out at Wembley against Germany. We knew we had to win the game, we did it with a great performance, a controlled performance and a magnificent victory and a big celebration in the end.
‘It is a magnificent night for everyone involved who follows this country, we put a smile on a lot of people’s faces, that’s what we do, that’s why we play football.
Maguire (right) praised the way the Three Lions controlled their tie with Germany at Wembley
‘But come Saturday we know it is business again and we can take the momentum and confidence from the deserved victory we have managed to get.’
Gareth Southgate’s England, who reverted to a back three on Tuesday night to counteract the threat of Germany, had to be patient against their biggest challenge of the summer so far but eventually found the breakthrough at Wembley.
Sterling tapped home Luke Shaw’s cross with 15 minutes to go to spark pandemonium at Wembley, before captain Kane scored a similar goal from substitute Jack Grealish’s pass.
Manchester United captain Maguire revealed the Three Lions wanted to relish the rivalry between England at Germany on Tuesday night and that their aggression and bravery showed it.
England’s goals came from Raheem Sterling (right) and captain Harry Kane (left) late on
‘I am not going to play it down, it means everything to beat them, we know they are a good team with excellent players and a great style of play and we changed our formation to counteract that.
‘We wanted to be aggressive all over the pitch, we wanted to be brave on the ball, take the ball and we wanted to be brave off the ball and try as much as we can to play one v one and have that pressure on the ball and not give them too much space out wide, which they have punished teams in the group stage for.
‘Credit to the coaching staff and Gareth to recognise that, the game plan worked brilliantly and we executed it really well.
Maguire also hailed England boss Gareth Southgate for his ‘brilliant’ game plan on Tuesday
The Three Lions will now face Ukraine in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, with a semi-final spot against Denmark or the Czech Republic at Wembley up for grabs.
While England will be favourites for both clashes, should they create that eventuality, Maguire insists they will not follow the likes of France or Holland by suffering an earlier-than-expected exit from Euro 2020.
He said: ‘I think before the game you could hear people talking about the side of the draw. The side of the draw means absolutely nothing.
Maguire insists England will not be complacent for their last eight tie with Ukraine on Saturday
‘You have seen in recent matches in this tournament, if you don’t play to a level you will get punished because every team that is left in this tournament at this stage is an excellent team and has quality players.
‘We are fully focused on ourselves, we don’t get carried away, if we don’t perform, we’ll lose the football match and if we do we will give ourselves the best opportunity of winning the match.
‘Every game is big, it doesn’t matter who you play at this level, every game is big and means something.’