England have become a target for top teams after World Cup showing, says Dier
Eric Dier thinks England’s performance at the World Cup has made them a team everyone else now wants to beat.
Gareth Southgate’s side made it to the semi-finals for the first time since 1990, and they lost to Croatia in the final four before being beaten in the third-place play-off by Belgium.
Their efforts in Russia saw them climb six places to sixth in the FIFA rankings, ahead of European champions Portugal and Spain, the team they face in the UEFA Nations League on Saturday.
Dier believes they are now more of a target for the top international sides after gaining some “respect” on the global stage.
“Having got to the semi-finals and played the tournament we had, we gained more respect from the footballing world. The hardest thing now is to maintain that respect and earn even more. That’s what we are trying to do.
— England (@England) September 6, 2018
“We had a very positive World Cup and we need to build on that, get better and really keep improving. We need to maintain that high level over a long period of time to be in the top bracket.
“Spain had a difficult World Cup but they are still one of the best footballing nations. We want to compete against, and beat, the best. Even though our World Cup was so positive, we still feel like we need to prove ourselves against the best teams.”
Dier is looking forward to playing at Wembley once more after a World Cup in which the support from fans and the English media seemed to strengthen as the tournament went on.
“We are excited to be playing in England after the World Cup,” he said. “During the tournament, it was difficult for us to really understand what things were like back home. Hopefully we can feel a bit of that on Saturday and Tuesday as well.
“But, for me, the World Cup is the past. We didn’t win it. From my point of view, it was right that there wasn’t a parade.
“We had a fantastic tournament, we brought unity to the nation which was needed at the time and everyone got behind us. It was incredible to be a part of, but we need to have that mentality where we should never be satisfied.”