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Gerrard out to end years of hurt

ESPN staff
June 24, 2012 « Kagawa spurns chance to wear United No. 7 | Chartbeat test »
Steven Gerrard has assisted three of England's five goals at Euro 2012 © PA Photos
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England skipper Steven Gerrard is determined to finally enjoy a successful tournament with his national team after years of under-achievement.

England go into Sunday's quarter-final with Italy looking to make the last-four for the first time since losing out to Germany at Euro 96 - and coincidentally it's the Germans who lie in wait for the winners in Thursday's semi in Warsaw.

Much was expected of the England side over the last decade, but failure is all that has been achieved.

Now, with little expected of Gerrard and his team-mates in Ukraine and Poland, the bulldog spirit that got England through as group winners to a point where the fans can believe that hard work, rather than misplaced belief in ability, can be the trump card.

"Since I made my England debut against Ukraine at Wembley in May 2000 I've dreamed of doing well in these major tournaments," Gerrard said. "Up to now that hasn't happened.

"But there's another chance here to do it and because of the hurt and pain I've been through before I'm hoping it'll be different this time. I'm certainly going to give it everything I've got to try and make it different.

"Because once you get to this stage of a competition, the quarter-final, it's massive. You're so close to where you want to be, you can see what's in sight and you start to dream again. So this is a fantastic moment for this team and this group of players.

"And it's important we seize this opportunity and this moment, that we grasp it and don't go home with any regrets. I know quarter-finals don't come around very often, so it's important we leave everything out there and we show to our critics and doubters that we are capable of performing at this level.

"But there's still plenty more performances needed before I get out of this tournament what I want - personally and also as a team. It's good of Gary to say those nice things about me but my focus is on playing well against Italy on Sunday night, not what I've done so far."

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