World Cup talk no bother for England - Lampard

2010-01-19 11:03

Frank Lampard is adamant England will not get swept up in the hype

surrounding their prospects at this year’s World Cup in South Africa.

England may have won the World Cup just once, on home soil in 1966,

but every subsequent appearance they have made at a major football tournament

has sparked hopes of a similar outcome among their fans.

Chelsea midfielder Lampard was a member of the England squad at the

2006 World Cup in Germany where the team lost in the quarter-finals to Portugal

after some players had suggested they could win the event.

During Fabio Capello’s two years in charge of England the team has

undergone a major upsurge in fortunes, from failing to qualify for Euro 2008

under former boss Steve McClaren to World Cup contenders.

But the Italian is not one for getting carried away and friendly

defeats by Brazil, France and Spain have served to reinforce awareness of the

scale of the task facing England in South Africa.

Meanwhile Lampard is confident England have learnt their lessons

from four years ago.

“There’s an inner confidence within the squad but I don’t think

we’re thinking about winning the trophy. We’ve been here before,” he said.

“The experienced players who have been here before know that it

doesn’t really matter what you say before the tournament or what your form’s

like a few months before the tournament, what really matters is how you play

when you get there.

“You get asked the question a million times - ‘Can you win it?’ and

the obvious answer is ‘Yes we can if we are playing well,’ but you have to go

there and win it.

“With the squad we have got and the way we have played, we are

doing everything right but when we go there we have to do everything right

there.”

Lampard - the guest of honour at a Football Writers’ Association

dinner in London on Sunday - knows that at the age of 31 this is likely to be

his last World Cup.

“This year is a big year for me,” he said. “It’s obviously a World

Cup year so it’s career defining. If we were to go there and win it then who

knows what would happen after that?”

Before the World Cup gets under way in June, Lampard has the chance

to win yet more club honours with Chelsea, the Premier League leaders.

“I don’t think I’ll become distracted by the World Cup,” said

Lampard, who has been capped 76 times by England.

“When I play for my club you get into the zone about playing club

football. I don’t look too far ahead.

“It’s nice when the draw comes around, you get excited and when it

gets nearer you get more excited but there’s too much going on at Chelsea, it’s

too important.

“We are in everything at the moment so we are focused completely on

that. Hopefully when it comes to the end of the season I’ll be confident after

winning things with Chelsea and go to the World Cup.”


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