Warsaw: England captain Steven Gerrard remained cautious ahead of his side`s Group D showdown with Ukraine, insisting he is fully focused on the game and hasn’t even considered the knockout stages of the tournament.
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Should England avoid defeat on Tuesday night against the co-hosts, they will safely proceed to the quarter-finals of the competition where they will face either Spain or Italy.
And, despite the vital 3-2 win against Sweden last Friday making the Three Lions` passage easier, the Liverpool man has emphasised the need to turn all concentration to the game in Donetsk.
“I am trying to force myself not to even talk about quarter-finals at this stage,” Gerrard told reporters.
“It would be very disrespectful to the opposition, who are very dangerous judging by the tapes we have watched of them.”
“Their combination play in the middle and around the box is good. If I started talking about quarter-finals and we slipped up I would never forgive myself. Let’s deal with the quarter-final, and what to expect, if we get there.”
The midfielder also revealed that the atmosphere in the current England squad is far superior to that during a disasterous 2010 World Cup campaign.
England stumbled through the group stages in South Africa, and was well beaten by a youthful German side in the second-round, but Gerrard is confident the mood in the camp is far more positive this time round.
“The reason we feel like this is because of how we are playing. We are playing well and we are playing positively. We are enjoying how we are playing,” the 32-year-old added.
First Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2012, 13:39