Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rio: Lure of Wembley Final Will Lift England for Euros

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rio: Lure of Wembley Final Will Lift England for Euros

Article excerpt

Byline: James Olley Chief Football Correspondent

RIO FERDINAND today questioned England's ability to beat the best teams but believes the prospect of playing at Wembley can give them the edge at Euro 2020.

Gareth Southgate's side finished third in the inaugural Nations League last week after losing their semi-final against the Netherlands, a defeat which again raised the issue of their record against the world's top sides.

The list of teams England have lost to since Southgate took charge reads: the Netherlands, Spain, Croatia, Belgium (twice), France and Germany.

They beat Spain in Seville last October, a few months after reaching the World Cup semi-finals, but Ferdinand believes there is still work to be done before England can consider themselves among the tournament favourites.

"If you look at the results when England have played good teams, they haven't been great," he told Standard Sport. "All the other teams, they put them away easily.

"It is difficult. We have some unbelievable players but are we going to be ready to win a tournament? I don't know.

The problem is, there are a lot of other good teams. Belgium have been knocking on the door for a while, Holland are building another good side. Spain will be there or thereabouts. Germany, I'm sure, will have something to say. France, Croatia there are good teams out there and it isn't going to all go England's way.

"We've got top players, but it is about coming together, creating that environment which the manager has done well to get so far and then the boys putting it together on the pitch."

Former England captain Ferdinand never played at a European Championship finals, despite amassing 81 caps between 1997 and 2011.

The 40-year-old will be England's lead ambassador for Euro 2020, a tournament which will be staged in 12 cities across Europe, with Wembley set to welcome around 600,000 fans in all, including playing host for a semi-final and the final. …

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