England are not worried about who they face in the knockout rounds of the World Cup, says Phil Jones
Phil Jones says there is no fear inside the England camp about who they will face in the World Cup knockout rounds.
England’s final Group G game against Belgium on Thursday will decide who qualifies for the last 16 as winners, mapping out two different routes to the final.
If Brazil win their group and Germany finish second in Group F, England would meet one of them in the quarter-finals by topping their group and winning their first knockout fixture.
A scenario which would see them face Mexico or Switzerland is more likely by finishing second.
Jones is hoping to make his first appearance of the tournament as both England and Belgium look set to rotate their selection, but the Manchester United defender insists Gareth Southgate’s squad are not spending time plotting an easier road to the final.
“We haven’t thought like that,” said Jones. “It’s about what we’re going to do and how we approach each game.
“I don’t think there’s been any focus on the teams we could face in the knockouts.
“We feel confident we can beat anyone and whoever we get we’ll be preparing right.”
0:26 England are not worried about who they face in the knockout rounds of the World Cup, says Phil Jones
Jones admits it was “difficult” to leave his family having welcomed a newborn baby shortly before departing to join his team-mates out in Russia for the World Cup.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is so far the only player to have broken into Southgate’s preferred starting line-up as a result of Dele Alli’s injury, but Jones said the substitutes’ bench “celebrated every goal like we were on the pitch” in the 6-1 win over Panama.
He is not ready to accept a spectator role yet, though.
“It’s all about taking chances,” he said. “If I do get that chance, and hopefully I do, then I’ll give it my best shot and hopefully give the manager some headaches.”