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Steven Gerrard not getting carried away after World Cup qualifying

Updated: Wednesday, 16 Oct 2013 16:11 | Comments

Steven Gerrard helped England book their World Cup place
Steven Gerrard helped England book their World Cup place

Captain Steven Gerrard wants England to remain grounded after booking their place at the 2014 World Cup.

Roy Hodgson's men eventually saw off the challenge of Poland with a 2-0 victory at Wembley on Tuesday night, which secured top spot in Group H ahead of Ukraine, when Liverpool midfielder Gerrard smashed the ball past Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny on 88 minutes.

It brought a positive end to what had at times been a testing qualifying campaign for England.

Gerrard now hopes the expectations of a nation can be kept in balance as the squad look towards making an impact in Brazil next summer.

"The opportunity is there. I have said all week there is a good confidence and belief in the group, but at the same time we are going to keep ourselves grounded and stay humble," he said.

"It is important now that it does not flip and everyone thinks we are going to go and win the World Cup, that we are favourites and everyone gets carried away.

"What is important is we have shown everyone we are a good team.

"We have not felt sorry for ourselves when we have had criticism, we have rolled our sleeves up, tried to work hard and put it right.

"It is a great feeling to be in Brazil and hopefully we can go in with a little less pressure on ourselves and surprise a few."

Gerrard shared in the emotions of the night at Wembley, where 20,000-plus Poland fans had made for an amazing atmosphere.

"It was a relief for everyone," Gerrard said.

"At 1-0 it was very nervous, tense and edgy, you are always thinking that one mistake and you could be in trouble.

"I got a bit of a break with the goal, but when I saw it in the back of the net. It was a tremendous feeling."

The England captain added: "It is a feeling difficult to put into words because I am on such a high.

"I have had some wonderful nights as Liverpool captain and I remember the night when Roy phoned me to tell me I was going to be the permanent captain, the feeling I got when that goal went in, that feeling was maxed."

A fine header from Wayne Rooney had set England on their way just before half-time.

The Manchester United striker has now scored nine goals from his last 10 England matches.

Gerrard is in no doubt of Rooney's importance to hopes of continued improvement next summer.

"I have said all along that if we are going to be successful in this team, then Wayne Rooney is key," he said.

"When you go into big competitions, you need strikers to get you important goals and that is why Wayne Rooney is so important for this country - if we are going to do well at the tournament it will be because Wayne Rooney is in good form."

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