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Gerrard set to make “the nation proud”

June 22, 2010 - South Africa - Football - England Press Conference - Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, South Africa - 22/6/10..England

By Viorel Mesca.

This could be very well England’s last game in the tournament, so they must beat current Group C leaders Slovenia to make sure the Three Lions qualify.

Captain Gerrard knows there has to be a significant improvement. According to, Stevie G said:

“It is a do-or-die situation. We need to perform, we need to improve on the last performance. The training was very sharp this morning and hopefully everyone can do the business. In the last performance, we didn’t do what we did in the qualifying games. In those, we were confident, played aggressive football, pressed really well and were also very compact and difficult to beat. There were things missing from the Algerian performance and tomorrow we want to get those back. We want to start the game really well, play compact and be difficult to beat, but also have the cutting edge in the final third to score goals.”

Gerrard also feels England must win this game for the fans

He said:

“We have come into this tournament with big expectations, we have big support out here. People have paid good money and expect us to win football matches. We as players take responsibility for under-performing in the last game. The idea is to put in a good performance, win the game and change the perception of how we have done so far. We want to make the nation proud and happy and a good win tomorrow can give the players more confidence.”

Gerrard added:

“You can see the players hurt from the Algerian performance. We let the country down by under-performing and I can see the hunger in the guys. We can’t wait for the game to start to put it right. We haven’t enjoyed the criticism, the last couple of days, and that feeling you get when you haven’t done yourself justice.”

The Liverpool captain believes today’s game is all that he is focused on.

“We’ve got a very important game and it is important as captain that I switch my attention and focus to this game.”

Gerrard also played down suggestions that the domestic season could be blamed for England’s unconvincing football:

“It is a long season in England but we look fresh and hungry in training and we are performing well. We need to translate that on to the pitch – starting tomorrow.”

Capello is reported to change tactics, making room for Joe Cole and playing Rooney as lone striker. Whether England can beat group leaders Slovenia, it remains to be seen.

How do you rate England’s chances in the games against Slovenia?

***Please note that this article was written BEFORE the England team to play Slovenia was announced***

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