Gerrard set for crucial contest

England skipper Steven Gerrard will be the "proudest man" in the country if he leads his team to the World Cup finals tonight.

Last Updated: 15/10/13 at 19:12 Post Comment   

Steven Gerrard: 'We need to seize this moment'

Steven Gerrard: 'We need to seize this moment'

England skipper Steven Gerrard has admitted he will be the "proudest man" in the country if he leads his team to the World Cup finals tonight.

Victory over Poland at Wembley would sweep England to Brazil without the need for a hazardous two-legged play-off and mark the culmination of an outstanding qualifying campaign under Roy Hodgson.

"I'd be the proudest man in the country if we get the win we're after," Gerrard said.

"It would be a big personal achievement for me to say I was the real captain through a campaign and led the lads to Brazil.

"I would be delighted."

As it could well be Gerrard's last tilt at a major prize, the 33-year-old will be giving everything to ensure the last barrier to Brazil is removed.

He is not worried about the scale of the 20,000-strong Polish contingent, nor the potential for nerves affecting his younger team-mates.

But 2007 focuses the mind. That shattering defeat to Croatia when only a draw was needed to reach Euro 2008 a reminder things can go wrong, even against opposition who have nothing to play for, as is the case for Poland.

"Yeah, a big massive picture of the Croatia game in 2007," said Gerrard, when asked what memories he will draw on for inspiration.

"It's a memory I'll have to take to the grave with me. One of the lowest moments of my international journey."

Six years on, the narrative still takes some believing.

Coach Steve McClaren took the bold decision to select Scott Carson for his first competitive international, a move that backfired almost instantly as the goalkeeper let Nico Kranjcar's long-range shot slip under him.

Croatia were two ahead before England mounted a spectacular fightback, Frank Lampard and Peter Crouch scoring the goals that looked certain to claim the draw required.

Incredibly, substitute Mladen Petric grabbed the winner 13 minutes from time, as England were hit on the break chasing a third goal they did not need.

"It is one of those memories that keeps coming back and coming back," said Gerrard.

"It wasn't about nerves. We underperformed.

"Everyone knows I'm not the most vocal captain. I won't be roaring and bawling.

"But I have already spoken to the lads about that feeling.

"I'd never try to scare a young lad but it's important they are aware what's at stake.

"We need to seize this moment.

"We want to look back at this with fond memories and with a smile rather than the way I do about 2008."


New Sky Bet customers: Claim free £5 bet every week


Related News

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

hy don't you call in Becks as well...and we will all have a lovely tea party!

kimosabi
United: Scholes helping out

M

ourinho is just a good-looking version of Allardyce (Fit Sam?). Clearly 19th century football isn't such a big deal after all?

Ezy_Rider
Chelsea Killed The Game Instead Of Playing It

S

tay put, Pep. Timothy Sherwood has this under control.

slowgraffiti
Guardiola plans Bayern stay

Footer 365

Champions League: Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti hails Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti hailed the 'sacrifices' made by Cristiano Ronaldo in the 1-0 win over Bayern Munich.

Hugo Lloris says Tottenham can't get any worse after torrid campaign

Hugo Lloris admits it will be difficult for Spurs to be any worse next season following a torrid league campaign.

Champions League: Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola proud despite Real Madrid loss

Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola was proud of his side's performance, despite their 1-0 first-leg defeat to Real Madrid.

Mail Box

Of Course People Remember How You Won

Some have said that it doesn't matter how Chelsea played as long as they won, but is that true? Plus, we've found the one chap who enjoyed Tuesday's game...

Chelsea Got A Result, What's The Problem?

There is plenty of 'that's 90 minutes I'll never get back' sentiment about Chelsea's 'performance' in Madrid, but at least one person thinks they did what was required...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property