Raheem Sterling believes victory in the Nations League Finals will give England the confidence to challenge for Euro 2020 and the World Cup.
Gareth Southgate’s side take on Netherlands in their semi-final on Thursday as the inaugural edition of UEFA’s international tournament concludes in Portugal. The winner will face either the host nation or Switzerland in the final on Sunday.
England have failed to win an international tournament since they lifted the World Cup on home soil 53 years ago, but Sterling senses that a Nations League Finals triumph will give the Three Lions vital experience when they enter the latter stages of future tournaments.
“Winning the Nations League Finals would give the team a lot of confidence,” he told UEFA.com.
“If you can win this, then when you do play later in the European Championships and the World Cup, it does give you positivity because you’ve been there already with your national team.
“Once the first trophy comes, it’ll feel a bit easier and not as pressured to do it again.
— England (@England) June 3, 2019
“The games against the best teams and the best players are the games that mean a lot more to us because then we know where we’re at.
“To keep developing we are going to have to play these teams more often because when you get to finals and semi-finals, those are the teams you are going to be playing.
“So, the more we get used to winning games like that, the more confident we’ll be as a group when we do come to those situations in bigger tournaments.
“It won’t be easy but at the same time we’ve beaten Netherlands already [in March 2018] and played some good football at times, and it’s possible again. I think it’s a massive stepping stone for us.”
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