No regrets overlooking Portugal
ERIC DIER believes the stench left by England’s disastrous Euro 2016 exit at the hands of Iceland will still take another two years to disappear. Two managers down the line from that June humiliation in Nice, England are making serene and steady progress towards World Cup qualification and are now two points clear and unbeaten at the top of Group F following Friday’s 3-0 Wembley victory over Scotland. Tomorrow sees the Three Lions host Spain in a reverse of the fixture in Alicante this time last year that saw the Tottenham man make his England debut in a 2-0 loss. As friendlies go, it could hardly be more high-profile but Dier knows that even if England win it will do little to lift the dark cloud that still looms over the national team following that dismal surrender to a nation of just 323,000.
“It’s going to take a long time,” said Dier, who completed 90 minutes against the Scots.
“I think you can only look two years down the line – qualifying for the World Cup and going there and doing well. The only way to fix the image of one tournament is by fixing it at another.”
Dier was substituted at halftime against Iceland and, with the underdogs already 2-1 ahead, watched his teammates fail to avoid a defeat he insists no-one in the camp had seen coming before kickoff.
Dier moved to Portugal when he was seven and remained there as part of Sporting Lisbon’s academy when his parents returned to England.
“At Sporting I played with Rui Patricio, the goalkeeper; Cedric who is at Southampton now; Adrien (Adrien Silva) the midfielder; William (Carvalho) the midfielder; Joao Mario who is at Inter Milan now and I played against André Gomes, who is at Barcalona,” he said.
“Portugal started off quite badly, they drew with Iceland in their first game but they got better and better and they had a fantastic belief about them. I felt like they believed they were going to do it and that’s what counts.”
Could Dier have worn the red shirt of Portugal instead of England? He had certainly lived there long enough to qualify. – The Independent