Beating Germany at the Euros changed England’s big-game mentality for good, says John Stones

·3-min read
 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

John Stones believes England’s win over Germany at Euro 2020 has changed the side’s mentality ahead of big games with their rivals.

England beat Germany at Wembleyin the last-16 of last summer’s Euros, earning their first knockout victory over them in 55 years.

Before that, the Three Lions had lost all four of their knockout games against Germany at major tournaments after beating them in the 1966 World Cup final.

Stones feels beating Germany last year was a watershed moment for England, changing how they view matches against them.

The pair are due to meet again on Tuesday in the Nations League, with England heading to Munich for the first meeting since last summer.

“I think it was probably the turning point in that tournament of feeling the belief that we could go on and try and win this,” said Stones, reflecting on last year’s win over Germany at the Euros.

“For us to play against top-tier opposition, top-tier players, and play the way we did, it gave us that belief that we can compete with these teams, and with these players on a regular basis.

“In the past, I’ve had a feeling as a team [if] it’s a difficult fixture, or it was a difficult fixture, and I feel the mentality has changed almost in that we know that we are capable of winning this game. So there’s a big shift in mentality.”

Stones started that win and was a key part of the England side who made it all the way to the final of the Euros, eventually losing to Italy on penalties.

The centre-back, however, only got back into the squad earlier that year after missing 10 games from November 2019 to March 2021.

Stones fell out of favour for both club and country, revealing now that he feared his England career could be over.

“I cannot remember how long I was out of the team but I was not playing at City and you have to be playing and playing well to be called up,” he said.

“I did not know if I would get called back up and I used that as a kind of motivation to get back in and it was a big - not switching mentality - but realisation of what I can do and what I should be doing to be here.

“I had a dream as a kid, playing for England, trying to get 50 caps for England and I have made that come true. I didn't think I would.

 (PA)
(PA)

“I was on 40 something [caps] at the time, I was not playing and I never thought I would get that opportunity again so for me, whatever games we have got I am always extremely proud to be called up for one and playing for England.

“Everyone doubts themselves in certain situations when things are not going well. I had to get out of that mentality and try and get back so when I made it. It made it even more special.”

Stones is now on 56 caps for England and isn’t setting a limit on how many more he could rack up.

“To be fair, there is a book on this kind of mentality stuff and it says do not cap yourself off a target,” he added. “Your target should be to get as many as you can and have that mindset. So I will try and get as many as I can.”

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