Thu, 02 Feb 2023

John Stones: World Cup upsets help focus our minds

03 Dec 2022, 02:05 GMT+10

DOHA, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- England defender John Stones insisted he was taking it one game at a time as his side look to avoid any upsets and win the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The fact England were semifinalists in 2018 and beaten finalists in last summer's European Championships has invited optimism that they can go one better and win a title that has eluded them since 1966.

But speaking to the press on Friday, Stones said that even though he believes England can win the World Cup, he wasn't looking further ahead than Sunday's last 16 match against Senegal.

"I focus all my energy on the game in hand and how I can help the team if selected, giving everything in that time and then moving on to the next."

"I don't think we can look too far ahead; it distracts people and side-tracks people. We have to focus on the next game," commented Stones.

This World Cup has already seen Denmark, Belgium and Germany knocked out, while others such as Morocco, Japan and Senegal have progressed. Stones agreed that the upsets so far in Qatar have helped rid England of any over-confidence.

"It does focus our minds. It is the best competition in the world, that is why we've seen big upsets. We definitely don't want to be one of those that takes anything for granted and doesn't respect the opposition in whatever form."

"We've always shown teams respect, no matter what form they've got or players they've got. We'll continue to do that while I play for England," he insisted.

However, Stones also said it was his belief that England can go all the way.

"That is not being over confident, that is being humble enough to see what goes on in our training and how the staff prepare and believing in ourselves too. We can be too negative, but we can be more positive and think about all the things we've done and how it has got us here and be realistic about our expectations," he commented.

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