Declan Rice lifts the crowd during the match

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Declan Rice said England’s players had created their “own bit of history” and proved their critics wrong in their euphoric victory over Germany at Wembley.

Rice said Gareth Southgate’s players were carrying extra “fire in the belly” after feeling that they had been written off as a team following the group stages.

“It is incredible,” said Rice. “A lot of the people looking at the group stage games had written us off. There were complaints about the performances, [people saying we were] not scoring enough goals. 

“You read a load of things but as players you put that to the back of your mind and want to prove people wrong. Today, with a full house, everyone had that fire in the belly to go out there and for one knock Germany out and two for us to go through the next round.

“It’s history. In the press conferences all the players had been asked about the previous games against Germany, but today we created our own bit of history.”

Meanwhile, Rio Ferdinand it is time to put “more respect on Raheem Sterling’s name” after the England forward scored the crucial opening goal.

Ferdinand, a former England captain, described Sterling as one of the finest players in world football and said the Manchester City winger brought the “spark” to Southgate’s side.

“Please can we start putting a bit more respect on Raheem Sterling’s name,” said Ferdinand in his role as a BBC pundit. “Today when any bright sparks were coming through this team, they were going through that man.

“He is a fabulous player who has the courage and bravery at all times to take the ball to the opponent. He has been the person, when we have needed that moment, to lift us and get us over that line. He is the person we have gone to. 

“He is a fantastic kid, a fantastic human being above everything else. What a professional, what a hard worker. His courage is one of the things I love about him. He wants the ball at all times.

“He is hard to read, he jinks about with his trickery. At this stage of his career he is producing end product, deciding games. When you are talking about the top players in world football, I believe this kid over the past two or three years has been at that level.”

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