After a day on the bikes, Mark Noble says England are geared up for the semi-final
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It was a great win for us on Thursday and has set us up nicely for the semi-final, but we still have one more group game to win tonight.
Spain kept the ball well but didn’t really cause that many problems. We kept a good team shape, dealt with their threat and I think we deserved what we got.
With Catts and Fabrice alongside me, we made it very difficult for them in the midfield are and Fabrice was absolutely magnificent, the amount of ground he covered and tackles he made. They had a bit of possession, but our work ethic over ran them in the end.
In the first game we didn’t play as well as we can do, but against Spain we dominated. The boys have been fantastic in training, working hard, looking sharp, and we are well worth our place in the semi-final, we just want to win the group now.
It doesn’t seem that long ago since we were in the semi-final two years ago, It was a bit different in Holland as we had to win our last group game to go through, but now we’re in there with a game to spare and the manager can maybe tinker with the team a little, we’ll have to wait and see.
But just because we are through, we’re not going to take it easy, we want to win the game, finish top of the group and send out a message to the others teams.
When we set out on qualifying for these Finals three months after returning from Holland, we laid down our goals and it was 14 games we needed to play to reach the Final and at least go one better than last time, but even that won’t do. We’ve done everything we can so far and after the Germany game tonight we have two more matches, huge games, to get what we came for.
The boys are also dealing with the rest time pretty well. When were training and playing, it’s business and we focus on working hard, but between matches we have to stay relaxed.
On Friday a few of us got on the bikes and went for a ride into town. There was about 17 of us out together and we were probably getting some strange looks, but it was good fun and shows what the spirit is like in the team, we all like each other’s company. We had a really good laugh and gave us a chance to think about something other than football. We’ve had two wins now and after both matches we’ve got out on the bikes the next day, so I hope that can continue.
These bikes though are weird, they’ve all got shopping baskets on the front as I said before, but they’ve got no brakes so you have to peddle backwards to stop. It takes some getting used to, certainly for a couple of the staff members here who have taken a little tumble, but I won’t name names. You know who you are…
The weather is really good mostly, so to be outside soaking up the rays is nice. Yesterday the lads were just sitting around inside or outside the hotel. I had another game of table tennis with Tonka, but it's not good news from my side. A few of the boys had their families over to see for the afternoon, there was some who went to lay on the beach, the sea was so calm. We’ve seen people trying to surf out there when there’s been waves, but it was like a lake yesterday, flat as a snooker table.
It was also Father’s Day, the first since I became a dad to Honey earlier this year. I spoke to my girlfriend on the phone and got a message, via her, from my little girl. That was really nice but it’s horrible being away on my first Father’s Day, but it’s for a good cause. I’ll be spending as much time with her when I get home. Hopefully I’ll be able to show her a medal… Don't forget! You can follow England’s campaign in the Finals with TheFA.com who will be with the team all the way in the Finals.
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