Gerrard: 'Seize the moment'
Saturday, 23 June, 2012
The captain says he is confident England can overcome Italy in Kiev.
Steven Gerrard says he is confident his England team mates can overcome Italy and reach their first major tournament semi-final in 16 years.
The Three Lions most recent visit to the last-four of any competition was on home soil at Euro 96. But the captain believes that after the way they have performed in Poland and Ukraine, they can get past a tough test from the Azzurri.
After defeats at the quarter-finals at the World Cups in 2002 and 2006, and the European Championship in 2004, Gerrard has also urged the England stars to 'seize the moment' in Kiev on Sunday night.
"That is what gives me the belief and confidence that we can end this hoodoo that people talk about.
"I get told that not many of the current players have figured in quarter-finals, but they are all big-game players and are aware of what is required.
"It is important they seize the moment, seize the opportunity, because from experience, I know they don`t come around very often.
"It is important nobody leaves anything out on the pitch and show the critics we are good enough to compete at this level."
Speaking to the press ahead of the match at the Olympic Stadium in the Ukrainian capital, Gerrard was asked about Italian striker Mario Balotelli, who lifted the Premier League title with Manchester City last season, and also netted in the Group C victory over Ireland on Monday.
Gerrard said: "We all know about Mario, we watch him week in and week out in the Premier League. He`s an excellent and dangerous player.
"He is someone we will have to take extra care of if he is chosen, and we will have to try and contain him tomorrow night."
The Liverpool man was also highlighted by Italy's Daniele De Rossi and Claudio Marchisio as one of his idols earlier in the week, but he was modest in his response when questioned and said England's midfield need to be on their mettle to combat the Italy duo. But as well as praising his opponents, Gerrard also had a word for Joe Hart, who he expects will play a big part in the quarter final.
"I'm flattered that I've received such compliments. De Rossi is fantastic, able to pick out a pass and has a keen eye for goal; Marchisio is a bit different, far more likely to make a late run into the box and score goals. Myself and Scott Parker will have to be very aware of them tomorrow night."
He added: "I think we've got one of the best goalkeeper in the world; eventually he'll be the best. His performances so far have been fantastic. I think he'll be key tomorrow; at some point he'll be call upon to make a special save and we all know he will."