Declan Rice wary of Slovenia challenge as England look to bounce back

Declan Rice wants England to move on from their slow start at Euro 2024 – but warned next opponents Slovenia will be out to “shock the world”.

England play their last Group C fixture in Cologne on Tuesday night knowing victory will see them progress to the last 16 in top spot.

In all likelihood, Gareth Southgate’s side will qualify even if they slip to a narrow defeat to Slovenia, who – at 57th – are the lowest ranked side in England’s group.

Despite taking four points from their opening two games, England’s performances have been criticised, especially the display in Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Denmark.

“Tomorrow is a chance for us as a group to bounce back from the other night,” Rice said on the eve of the clash at RheinEnergieStadion.

“That’s the beauty of football. You always get another chance to go again and tomorrow night we have that chance to put that game behind us and move forward in a positive way.”

England have never lost to Slovenia, who are seeking their first ever win at a European Championship having qualified for just the second time as an independent nation.

After drawing their opening two games in Germany, a maiden victory for Matjaz Kek’s side would see them through to the knockout stages.

England will be heavy favourites but Rice knows they will have to be at their best to avoid what would be one of the most surprising results in the tournament’s history.

“I’ve watched Slovenia, their first two group games, and they’ve actually been really, really good,” he added.

England’s Declan Rice during a training session at the Spa & Golf Resort Weimarer Land in Blankenhain
England’s Declan Rice during a training session at the Spa & Golf Resort Weimarer Land in Blankenhain (Adam Davy/PA)

“They have a lot of strong players, really fast. Obviously the main talking point, (Benjamin) Sesko, the boy who plays up front. He’s been a massive target for clubs around Europe.

“Tomorrow is going to be really tough. When you play teams like Slovenia, you know what you are going to get.

“They are going to come at us, they are going to want to win the game, they are going to want to shock the world.”