Gerrard plays down England World Cup expectations

England captain Steven Gerrard has urged supporters of the Three Lions not to put too much pressure on the team ahead of next year’s World Cup, Sky Sports has reported.

Gerrard scored as England beat Poland to guarantee a place at Brazil 2014, qualifying as winners of Group H, but the Liverpool skipper is keen to make sure fans do not expect too much in South America. Gerrard added that he has experienced international tournaments were expectations are too high, and knows how difficult they can be.

From my experience of going in to World Cups, people talk about golden generations and that we are one of the favourites, that this will be our year and stuff like that,” Gerrard said. “That creates a false pressure, and unfair pressure because it’s a very tough tournament to go in to. This time around people will be more realistic.

I think the important thing is now that people don’t get carried away and start putting us with teams like Spain and thinking that everyone is fine and we are a fantastic team,” he added. “I think we are a good team, I think we can still get better, I think we have got a good blend of youth and experience.

Gerrard believes that the display against Poland is a good barometer of England’s current position, after Roy Hodgson’s side dominated the first-half but had to see out a far more competitive second period. “Against Poland first half we were fantastic, but second half we showed we still have to improve to compete with the best,” Gerrard noted.

The 33-year-old missed the 2002 World Cup due to injury but returned to the set-up four years later as England bowed out against Portugal at the quarter-final stage. In 2010 England were eliminated by Germany, with a semi-final place in 1990 England’s best performance since winning the competition on home soil in 1966.

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