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England’s Sterling undaunted by heavyweight clash in last 16 of Euro 2020

Raheem Sterling said England were braced for a heavyweight last-16 clash at Euro 2020 after topping Group D with a 1-0 win against the Czech Republic on Tuesday.

The victory at Wembley means England are likely to face either world champions France, holders Portugal or Germany in the knockout phase.

England were heavily criticised for their toothless performance in the 0-0 draw against Scotland but found more of an attacking edge in their final group game.

“I think there are positives from the game,” Sterling, who also scored England’s only other goal of the group phase in the 1-0 opening win against Croatia, told ITV.

“We kept the ball better today. It gave us more attacking options. We got in the gaps really well, played some good football and got the goal we needed.”

Sterling praised Jack Grealish and man-of-the-match Bukayo Saka, who were brought in to freshen up the attack.

“It is brilliant to have these players around you who can create goals,” he said. “Different players are needed for different games and those two that came in were massive and did what they needed to do.

“If you don’t concede goals you win football matches. You just need to score at the other end. People were disappointed in the Scotland game a few days ago but we didn’t concede. 

“The most important thing was to win the group. It is tournament football and it will be difficult but we need to do what we are doing.”

The Manchester City forward was undaunted about the likelihood of a stern test in the last 16 at Wembley next week.

“At some point you have to face the best teams,” he said. “It is about challenging yourselves.”

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