Harry Maguire: Germany win is just the start
Harry Maguire was delighted with England's 2-0 victory over Germany in the last 16 of Euro 2020, but says that is it has to be just the start for him and his colleagues.
The United captain was named UEFA's Star of the Match after the Three Lions beat their rivals in a major tournament knockout match for the first time since the 1966 World Cup final.
To Harry's left, Reds colleague Luke Shaw was also outstanding, providing the assist for England's opener, scored by Raheem Sterling, and then winning the ball back to instigate the move that led to their second, finished off by Harry Kane.
It sets up a quarter-final at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Saturday evening (20:00 BST), where Gareth Southgate's men will attempt to reach the semi-final stage of the European Championship for the first time since 1996.
England 2 - 0 Germany 🏴 🇩🇪 pic.twitter.com/GBifp3uFDj— Harry Maguire (@HarryMaguire93) June 29, 2021
“I felt like we deserved the victory,” our no.5 told BBC Radio 5 Live. “We knew it was going to be a tough game. First and foremost, they're a top team. We kept hearing things about how they're not what they used to be, but they're a top team.
“They'll bounce back, I'm sure they will. They have great players, great structure, and we obviously changed our formation to match them up and tried to be really aggressive without the ball, and go man-for-man as much as we could, and I felt like that worked.
“We didn't give them any rhythm or [let them] settle in the game. I felt like for the large majority of the game we were in control of the game, and we know we've got match-winners in the team and it's proven again.”
“I'm sure everyone will have a good night tonight! I'm sure every table in the pub will be busy!” joked Maguire.
“Listen, we want to win football matches. It's tournament football. You see what happened with the results yesterday - it's tough to win football matches at this level. At the moment we're doing it really well but, listen, it's just the start. We've got to carry it on. We've got to continue.
“It's another big game on Saturday. If we don't rest, recover and prepare well, it's going to be another tough test. We know that, and we have to be right at our level to make sure that we win that game on Saturday.”
Harry reserved a final word for the influence of the Wembley crowd, who were increasingly delirious as Sterling and then Kane found the goals that put Joachim Low's men out of the tournament.
Wembley's capacity was increased to 40,000 for this round of the competition, as the government continues its pilot test events as the country attempts to find a way out of the COVID-19 crisis.
“It was a magnificent atmosphere,” he enthused. “First and foremost, it's brilliant to get the crowds back in. That felt like proper football. The group games, we had 20-odd thousand, but I think we missed the band as well, to be honest! When the band's in, the atmosphere seems to pick up with England.
“But it's magnificent to get what felt like a full stadium we were playing [in]. I know it wasn't, but it's been a tough couple of years for everyone involved in the country, so we knew coming out today it was our moment. We had to put smiles on everyone's faces back home, everyone in the stadium, and I'm just so grateful we managed to do that.”