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

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

G

ood grief. Someone guessed that the form English player at the moment might be in his national side with some other players? And that's espionage? Now if they discovered that Emile Heskey was going to be in the starting line up.... at right back.... THAT would be espionage. Give it a rest Roy.

RogerRedHat
Hodgson hits out at Kane leak

H

e may get away with if Liverpool can swap the video with one of Skrtel dancing or something, but if they review the one shown on TV he's screwed.

hump3.
Skrtel denies violent conduct

G

ive him 10 crosses and he'll head 8 of them over the bar.

tk421
Where Does Giroud Rank In Premier League?

Footer 365

Chelsea defender John Terry signs new one-year contract

Chelsea defender John Terry has signed a new one-year contract to stay at the club until summer 2016.

Roy Hodgson confirms Harry Kane will make England debut

Harry Kane's "incredible season" will reach a new high with an England debut in the next week, Roy Hodgson has confirmed.

Roy Hodgson urges English goalkeepers to grab chance to shine

England boss Roy Hodgson has urged goalkeepers across the land to grab their chance to shine to fill his injury gaps.

Mail Box

Cry Me A River, Diego Costa...

There's little sympathy for Diego Costa, while one mailboxer has had enough of football by numbers. There's also an invitation to visit Colombia and an ode to Woan...

England Handicapped By Natural Pessimism

The England team will never achieve anything unless we all lighten up. Also, last season was simply Joe Hart's 'Frog Chorus', and 80 per cent was a conservative estimate of turds in the Liverpool punchbowl...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company