No re­grets over­look­ing Por­tu­gal

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.