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Monday January 30, 2023

England’s Stones warns against complacency in Senegal clash

By AFP
December 03, 2022

DOHA: John Stones has warned England to treat Senegal with respect in Sunday´s (tomorrow) World Cup last-16 clash as Gareth Southgate´s side aim to avoid becoming the latest title contender to suffer a shock defeat.

Four-time winners Germany and second-ranked Belgium were dumped out at the group stage in Qatar while Argentina, France and Spain all suffered defeats in the first round. With England tipped to beat Senegal at the Al Bayt Stadium this weekend, Manchester City centre-back Stones urged his team-mates not to underestimate the Africa Cup of Nations holders.

"We´ve already seen big upsets. That´s why it´s the best tournament in the world," Stones said on Friday. "It´s always difficult when you see big teams or big players in teams that don´t have the success that you want or don´t live up to the expectation of the nation.

"We don´t ever want to fall into that category. You never want to take anything for granted. All we can affect is what we´re doing, what games we´re playing and giving it our all." Stones is confident that England will not rest on their laurels after topping Group B with an unbeaten record.

Pointing to the way they recovered from a six-game winless run heading into the tournament, Stones said: "After losing form as a team, as a unit in defence and how we´ve come through, I´m extremely proud of the group.

"I spoke before coming into the tournament about why our form was getting brought up, and rightly so, because of the summer we had. Now we´ve come through these three games in a difficult group."

After reaching the World Cup semi-finals in 2018 and finishing as Euro 2020 runners-up, Stones believes England have the quality to lift the trophy in Doha -- provided they stay positive when the pressure mounts.

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