Skipper Steven Gerrard proud to lead the Three Lions to Brazil after Poland victory
England 2-0 Poland
FIFA World Cup 2014
Group H Qualifier
8pm, Tuesday 15 October 2013
Steven Gerrard has compared England's qualification for the World Cup in Brazil to some of the best moments of his club career.
The Three Lions skipper has led Liverpool to Champions League and FA Cup glory and says helping to guide his country to next summer's finals has given him a special feeling.
After Wayne Rooney had given England a half-time lead against Poland in their final Group H qualifier, Gerrard barged his way through the visitors' defence to clinch victory and a place on the plane to Rio.
Speaking to TheFA.com after the game, he said: "I’m feeling really high at the moment. I said yesterday that it would be a very proud feeling if we can achieve qualification.
"I’ve had some wonderful nights as a Liverpool player and captain, but to lead the team to Rio is a special feeling. You can see my reaction after the second goal when we knew it was in the bag how happy I was.
"I got a little bit of a lucky break but I gave it everything I’ve got. I was tired and didn’t have much left in the locker, but it was one final push.
"It was a great team performance all round. I know me and Wayne got the goals, but it was a great effort from the squad.
"Everyone has played their part, this team has been through it all. We’ve had a bit of criticism and had highs and lows, but what we have shown is that we’ll never give up and we’ll keep fighting."
England came into their final week of qualification with the pressure of needing two victories to see them over the line.
After a great performance and a 4-1 victory over Montenegro on Friday, they followed up with another impressive display against the Poles.
Now Gerrard and his team-mates can start thinking about a summer in Brazil next year and he believes they can make a real impact at the World Cup.
The 33-year-old said: "There’s big confidence throughout the group, but we still need to carry on improving, stay humble and keep trying to make strides forward.
"But there’s a great blend of youth and experience in this squad and hopefully we can surprise a few people moving forward.
"Everyone’s pulling in the right direction for the team. People don’t understand how much pressure we’ve been under over the last eight or nine days, must win games, big games in front of our own crowd and everyone expecting.
"It’s been tough, but we’ve pulled through and it’s all because we’ve got a wonderful team spirit."
And in a special year for The Football Association, celebrating its 150th anniversary, Gerrard says it's a perfect way to end 2013.
He added: "The FA always back the team, they give us no excuses not to perform.
"It’s a special year for them and the icing on the cake was always going to be qualification and we’ve done it."