Marcus Rashford says England will not be fazed by the prospect of taking on Germany in the last 16 of Euro 2020 – and that the Three Lions see it as an opportunity to create a new piece of history.
The two countries famously met in the 1966 World Cup final, where England triumphed 4-2 against West Germany, but, since then, the Germans have dominated the majority of the crunch games at major tournaments.
Indeed, the sides met at Tuesday’s venue, Wembley, in the same competition 25 years ago, with Germany eventually triumphing on penalties after current England manager Gareth Southgate’s missed spot-kick in a shoot-out.
But Rashford says that psychological scars from past defeats will have no impact on he and his team-mates – some of whom were not even born in 1996.
“Everybody loves a bit of history but, the fact of the matter is, it’s our moment to create our own history,” the Academy graduate told the Official England Podcast.
“What happened in the past doesn’t have an effect on us and it doesn’t really matter. At the same time, it’s good to understand the history of the two countries that are facing up against each other.
“I think it comes hand in hand really, but the team and staff are focused on the fact that we want to create our own history and we don’t want to let the past determine the result of this game.”
England topped Group D after winning two or their three matches, and were perhaps unfortunate to be paired with one of the four teams vying to qualify from the so-called ‘Group of Death’, which contained world champions France, serial tournament-winners Germany and the European Championship holders Portugal.
But Rashford acknowledges England have to beat the best if they are to reach their first major final since 1966, and says the squad are excited about the challenge.
“If we’re going to win the tournament, we have to beat the best teams. It’s as simple as that,” he explained.
“Germany are definitely up there as one of the best teams of the tournament. Like I said before, it’s a big test for us, but we’re not shying away from it. We’re definitely going for it head-on and we’re going to try and win the game.”
“Other than the latter stages of the World Cup, this is going to be up there with one of the biggest games,” he continued.
“It’s up to us to create our own history now and that’s what we’re focused on doing. We’re not going to let the fact that they’re a top team faze us and not let us play the football we want to play. We’re going to express ourselves out on the pitch. We want to defend well and ultimately we want to score goals. Hopefully, we can do that.”
The winners of Tuesday’s tie will take on the victors of Sweden v Ukraine, in Rome on Saturday (3 July).