Lampard calls for Dutch courage
LONDON: Frank Lampard has stressed the importance of beating Holland in a friendly on Wednesday night and believes it will give England the perfect confidence boost to reach the World Cup next summer. England need just one more victory to reach the showpiece event in South Africa and can secure qualification by beating Croatia in their next World Cup qualifier at Wembley on September 9. Despite the bad timing of the game against Holland, with the new Premier League season due to start just three days later, Lampard is relishing the chance to join up with his England team-mates again and wants to maintain their winning feeling with a victory in Amsterdam. Fabio Capello has managed to transform the team since his arrival back in 2008 and has a 100 percent record in the qualifying campaign with seven straight victories.
Capello is expected to name his strongest team available for the game in Holland and Lampard says they are determined to put in another strong performance. Lampard said: "We have to get ready for the big games that are coming next month. It will be ideal (to beat Croatia) and I am very confident we can do it. We know there are three games to go and will play as if it is our last game and we need to win it to go through. "It is not ideal for us because Chelsea play Hull on Saturday lunchtime, but this is an important game for us and we have to focus. We should be fresh enough to deal with what comes. "It will be great to have a good performance and a win as well to give us some confidence for the qualifying game. I remember being beaten by Denmark when we lost 4-1 and that was a horrible game. "Holland are a very strong team and have already qualified which says a lot about them. They are going into the tournament as one of the group favourites so it is very good for us to challenge ourselves against a good technical team. "They move the ball about very well in a different atmosphere away from home so it is the sort of challenge you need going into a big tournament. "It is important from the managers point of view that he gets a good look at the team and he can make changes at some stage in the game when he wants to. It is good to see the team for a good period of time and see how we are performing." Lampard is expected to play as a defensive midfielder once again - a role which is completely different from what he plays at Chelsea. But the former West Ham player admits he is happy to sacrifice his attacking style of play if it means England winning the World Cup next summer. Lampard added: "It is a different role and is not completely where my instincts are. There are times when I could go forward, which is my natural instinct. "One of the things the manager has given us over the last 18 months is that we are a group and a team rather than a collection of individuals. That has been taken away from it, which it needed to be. "It is not about Wayne Rooney or Steven Gerrard, or whoever may be playing up front. Everybody is performing together. That has been our strength over the qualifying campaign." Meanwhile, England defender Glen Johnson will play his first game under Capello since moving to Liverpool for 17.5 million pounds during the summer. Johnson believes he has matured as a player over the last few years and is ready to establish himself as England's first-choice right back. Johnson said: "I've aged. I'm improving all the time and that has been a key factor. Before I didn't play so it's impossible to put in performances if you don't play. "I'd say I'm more mature. There were a couple of incidents that got blown out of proportion and were totally wrong. That's not for me to worry about. I've put it behind me and it's not important. "Joining Portsmouth was fantastic for me because I was playing week-in week-out, and working hard in training. The most important thing for any player is consistency in playing games. That is when you learn from your mistakes. That is the one thing I can put my finger on." str/ea09 Fbl-WC2010-ENG-NED-Lampard AFP 101521 GMT AUG 09.