England ‘really believe’ they can win the World Cup, unlike 2018, says centre-back Harry Maguire.
Gareth Southgate’s side reached the semi-finals in Russia four years ago and will face world champions France in the quarter-finals in Qatar on Saturday.
Victory would then see them face Portugal or Morocco for a place in a first World Cup final since 1966.
After reaching the Euro 2020 final, Maguire says there has been a positive change in the team’s mindset.
“I think that’s the one thing I would say is very different from the 2018 squad to this team – I think we really believe it’s possible,” the Manchester United captain said.
“I played in 2018 and we got to the semi-finals and I think a lot of guys were happy. You were happy to be in the semi-finals.
“You know that no matter what happens in that semi-final, you go home and are classed as a hero and everyone pats you on the back.
“I think now we believe we have to win this tournament. It’s a good change of mentality.
“Of course we know how difficult it is going to be. I think there are probably five or six teams with the same belief.
“But in 2018 we probably weren’t one of those teams that had that belief. Now there are five or six that have that belief and we’re one of them.”
Maguire, 29, has started all of England’s games at the World Cup so far despite struggling with playing time and form this season at club level.
His performances in Qatar rewarded the trust placed in him by manager Southgate, but Maguire says his faith in him never wavered.
“I don’t read too much if I’m being honest,” he said. “You pick up bits and bobs and maybe my family reads more than me. I tell them to stay away [social media]but maybe it’s not, because it’s a habit for most people these days.
“I read bits and bobs, but I’m 29, captain of Manchester United and made 52 appearances for my country.
“So when I look back on my career and put everything into perspective, if I was a young boy, I’m living the dream. I’m doing everything I’ve always wanted to do.
“Where I am right now, the next step in my career, I want to start winning trophies.
“Last year was tough and I didn’t play as well as I did in the previous five years at the highest level.
“But I think in a career there’s probably only Lionel Messi and Cristiano [Ronaldo] who are the only two who have not had a low point in their careers.
“It’s a 15-year career if you’re really lucky there’s really no way, especially with all the scrutiny of defenders these days, you’re not going to have a low.
“I’ll probably get another one too, but that’s how you come back, how you bounce back from them. You have to stay focused and keep your confidence.”