England squad is good enough to win the World Cup, feels captain Kane
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”Looking back in 2018, we didn’t really know what to expect from the group. We went there with belief we could win it, but it was almost a new experience. We got to the semi-finals and everyone was over the moon, but whether we had full belief to go and win the tournament, I am not sure,” said the Tottenham striker with Gareth Southgate’s side taking on reigning champions.
“But we backed that up by reaching the final of the Euros and the belief has been growing. We lost in the Euros by a couple of kicks of the ball and we have entered this tournament believing we can win and it is about trying to push on. We go into the (France) game with more belief than we did in 2018,” he added.
“We know that we’re a very good team and there are good teams in this tournament. If we did lose tomorrow, we would be as disappointed as anyone,” said the English captain.
He added the current group taking part in the 2022 edition are strong in belief and are a determined lot.
“Between us and everyone involved we have a real belief and determination to be successful on the pitch.”
Southgate has a decision to make over what role Raheem Sterling will play against the French as the 28-year-old Chelsea forward did not feature in the last-16 win over Senegal as he rushed back to England following an incident at his home in Surrey.
He flew back to Qatar on Friday and was part of the 25-man group training at the Al Wakrah Sports Complex on Friday afternoon.
“I have spoken briefly with Raheem at training and we will speak later on. He wanted to train today. Normally we wouldn’t do that, with him having been on a long flight, but it was a lighter session. He will be involved tomorrow, but what that looks like I have got to decide,” the England boss said while giving an update on Sterling’s role in the team.
Southgate insisted Kyle Walker, who had been a fitness doubt before the tournament, would be ready to shackle France dangerman Kylian Mbappe if required.
“We always wanted to give Kyle the opportunity to be fit as he has been a very important player for us over the last six years,” the England manager said of the Manchester City defender.
“Kyle is ready. We are talking about one of the opposition, but France are a fantastic team and we are aware of all of their players. (France manager) Didier (Deschamps) has created a team that is stronger than the individuals, which maybe wasn’t always the case and we have to be at our very best to win the game.”
Southgate feels England’s run to the semi-finals of the last World Cup and subsequent progress to the final of Euro 2020 will come handy for them at the Al Bayt Stadium.
“In terms of our experiences, those big matches are important reference points for the team. There have been some defeats that hurt that prepare you for nights like tomorrow where you have to be the very best version of yourself. We are ready to fight France for that place in the semi-finals,” he said as a parting shot.
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