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Harry Maguire: England didn’t believe they could win the World Cup in 2018, but we do now


Arry Maguire has revealed the England team never really believed they would – or could – win the last World Cup but, four years later, that is different.

Saturday will see England take on world champions France in the last of four quarter-finals. Win and the Three Lions would equal their semi-final since Russia in 2018, which was England’s first in 28 years and saw the players receive a hero’s welcome on their return.

And Maguire, who was a star in England’s run to the Euro 2020 final last summer, said he and his team-mates would not be happy if they did not win the World Cup at the Qatar.

“I think that’s the one thing I would say that’s very different from the 2018 team to this team. I think we really believe it’s possible,” Maguire said at Al’s training camp. Wakra in England.

“I played in 2018 and we got to the semi-finals and I think a lot of guys were happy. You were happy to be in the semi-finals.

“You know that no matter what happens in that semi-final, you go home and are rated as a hero when you go home, you get a good welcome and everyone pats you on the back.

“I think there is now a conviction that we have to win this tournament. It’s a good change of mentality. Of course, we know how difficult this is going to be.

“I think there’s probably five or six teams with the same belief. But in 2018 we probably weren’t one of those teams that had that belief. Now there’s five or six that have that belief and we are one of them.

Maguire was one of his country’s best players in Qatar despite his form at Manchester United being so poor that the captain lost his starting spot.

The centre-back insists he’s not overly concerned about criticism but believes his harshest criticism is reserved for the domestic game.

“At Manchester United I’m much more watched,” he added. “Everything I do is analyzed. Every pass I make is analyzed. Every goal we concede is a defender’s fault and if you play week after week like I did for three years, last year wasn’t good enough.

“Not everyone in the team played well enough and we got a lot of attention as players. Nobody came out of the season with plaudits, so that was a problem. general of the team last season, but this one has been much better.

It’s the first year that I’ve really sat on a bench for a few games… I’m going to fight to get my place back.

He added: “It’s the first year that I’ve really sat on the bench in a few games. Obviously I got hurt too, a thigh injury that kept me out for four weeks, but I’m going to fight to get my place back.

“But again, I go back to past experiences. I entered the Euro following an eight-week injury, without a minute. After my thigh injury, I managed to play two 90 minutes for Manchester United.

“I felt like they were that good for 90 minutes, I won both games, I felt like I was a bit fit too, I played against West Ham and Aston Villa I shot the euros.

“The second game I felt better than the first game and I think now I’m in a rhythm of the game. It’s been four games, so I feel good.

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Maguire United’s teammates, however, made sure to let him know they are thinking of him.

“I’ve had a few texts from them. I think while I’m gone they want me to focus entirely on England, but I’ve had a couple of nice messages from them saying how well I’ve been performing and congratulations on reaching the quarter-finals and things like that. It’s nice,” he added.

“I think they’re currently far away in sunny Spain… I actually think it’s raining there. I’m sure they will watch the games. I’m sure Erik will support the Oranje army. I got a few texts and it’s good to feel their support. “

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