Steven Gerrard has urged England to end their quarter-final curse and show the world what they are capable of against Italy on Sunday.
The Three Lions have not been able to progress to the semi-finals of a major tournament since reaching the final four at Euro ’96 on home soil.
However, Gerrard feels that it is about time he and his team-mates changed that record by beating the Azzurri in their Euro 2012 showdown in Kiev on Sunday.
“In previous tournaments we just haven’t shown what we are capable of. But our performances are getting stronger in this competition,” he said.
“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.”
The 32-year-old believes that his midfield partnership with Scott Parker will play a vital part in determining the outcome of the match.
“It’s important that myself and Scott Parker try to control the midfield area,” he said.
“Italy have three world-class midfield players and if they control the game then we are going to be in trouble.”
Finally, the Liverpool skipper also picked out Mario Balotelli as Italy’s biggest threat, but says that England have enough to contain the Manchester City man during the match.
“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 said.
“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.”
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