England didn't lift the World Cup, but Eric Dier claims they gained something almost as valuable
England may not have won the World Cup in Russia, but Eric Dier believes they did win respect.
Gareth Southgate’s side arrived at the tournament with modest expectations but outlasted the likes of Germany, Brazil, Argentina and Saturday’s Nations League opponents Spain to reach the semi-finals.
It was the Three Lions’ first appearance in the final four since 1990 and there was also a cathartic penalty shootout win over Colombia, with Dier converting the decisive spot-kick in Moscow.
The Tottenham midfielder claims their efforts laid down a new marker but must continue living up to their own standards – starting at Wembley.
“We’re a more respected team now, after the World Cup, but the hardest thing now is to maintain that respect,” the Tottenham midfielder talkSPORT and BBC Radio 5Live.
“There’s a a real stability at the moment. I think the manager wants that in the squad, stability and for everyone to feel like they’re part of something.
“That being the case we’re eager to build something. Even though our World Cup was so positive we still feel like we need to prove ourselves against the very best teams.
“Spain had a difficult World Cup but they’re still one of the best footballing nations and we want to compete against the best and beat the best.”
Dier has a reputation for being one of the squad’s more clear-minded thinkers, rated by Southgate as tactically astute and with a continental grounding from his formative years in Portugal.
It is, then, something of a surprise to find out he is still coming to terms with the impact of England’s campaign.
“I don’t even know if it has sunk in yet to be honest,” he said.
“Football moves so fast, it wasn’t long after the Premier League had started again and now we’re four games in and back on international duty.
“It’s kind of crazy. Being with England again and with the atmosphere there will be at the next two games, the first time playing in England since the World Cup.
“I’m sure leading up to those games we’ll really feel the effect it had. During the World Cup it was difficult for us to understand what things were like back home, hopefully we can feel a bit of that on Saturday and on Tuesday (against Switzerland) as well.”