Declan Rice (England) after the victory against Iran: “I was nervous before the game”

“How do you analyze this meeting?
It’s a great way to start the tournament. Now we are going to talk less about the fact that we had lost our last six matches… (he smiles). I think we’ve proved to a lot of people (who criticized the England team) that they were wrong. After some will say: ”it was only Iran”. Except that this team has always obtained good results in the World Cup. They recently beat Uruguay (1-0, September 23). It is therefore a very positive performance on our part, but we must not get carried away, the United States will arrive quickly. (the English face them next Friday).

“I played a lot of Premier League matches, but this is something else anyway”

Are you surprised by the performance of Bukayo Saka, author of a double?
This performance proves his strength of character, when we remember what happened last year (he had been harassed on the networks after missing a shot on goal in the final of Euro 2021). But, to answer your question, no, I’m not surprised, because he’s blossoming this season with Arsenal. He has a smile that hasn’t left him since he arrived here. She’s the happiest person I’ve ever seen (he’s laughing).

And how do you analyze Jude Bellingham’s performance, who shone despite his young age (19)?
Before the match, in the tunnel, I told him: ”this is going to be your match. project yourself (with the ball)have fun and I will be behind you (to make up for any lost balls)”. I think we complemented each other well. (between), I protected the “back four” and he was very mobile. The game plan we had planned worked.

Did you feel it coming this great victory ?
Well not necessarily, because I was nervous before the meeting, which never happens to me. I played a lot of Premier League matches, but that’s something else anyway. Then I saw that my family was in the stands, it freed me. And the first ball I touched gave me confidence. Then it was gone…

Do you think England can win this World Cup?
We hope so, but the road is still very, very long…”

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