Sterling, Grealish and Saka shine as England top Group D
- Credit: PA
England topped Group D with two wins and one draw to progress into the last 16 knock-out stage of Euro 2020 as Raheem Sterling, Bukayo Saka and Jack Grealish impress in England's 1-0 victory over Czech.
Three clean sheets and two goals from Raheem Sterling against the likes of Croatia, Scotland and Czech Republic was enough to send them through in style.
Although he has had his critics the 26-year-old, Sterling, from Brent has proved vital in his hometown as he has notched both of England’s goals and has two in three games.
“At some point you are going to have to face the best teams, that’s the whole point of being in the tournament, which is to challenge yourself,” Sterling said after the Czech win.
“Our objective from the beginning was to win the group. It’s tournament football and things are going to be difficult at times but we need to keep doing what we’re doing as a team which is being solid and taking our chances when we can.”
He added: “If you don’t concede goals you win football matches and we’ve been doing that really well,” he said.
“People are disappointed with the Scotland game a couple of days ago, we didn’t score but we didn’t concede and that’s the most important thing.”
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Sterling also praised Jack Grealish – who set up his 12th-minute winner – and Bukayo Saka after they made their first starts of the tournament.
“They got into the pockets really well, they were positive and it’s brilliant to have these players around you who can create goals.
“It’s part of tournament football, there are different players needed for different matches. They are massive for what we need to do.”
England have rotated the squad quite often so far with only Sterling, Jordan Pickford, Harry Kane, John Stones, Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice starting all three matches.
Boss Gareth Southgate now has a tough choice on his hands as to who he starts in the knock-out stages of the competition.
They will play their last 16 tie on home turf at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday, June 29.
Southgate said: “We’ve played two opponents in the Croats and the Czechs who I think are playing at a very good level and Scotland, which as an experience for our players, was quite unique.
“These will be different games. We know it’s world champions, European champions and Germany, who look like they’re back on song.”