We need to play like we do for our clubs – Lam­pard

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FOOTBALL -

ENG­LAND solved the iden­tity cri­sis that was threat­en­ing to de­rail their World Cup be­fore it be­gan by re­turn­ing to the virtues that have es­tab­lished the Premier League as among the best in the world.

The squad may have tur ned down Fabio Capello’s old-school of­fer of a beer the night be­fore the game, but by fall­ing back on the mod­ern English qual­i­ties of pace and di­rect­ness they de­liv­ered the win re­quired to se­cure a sec­on­dround berth.

“There was an of­fer (of a beer) but no one took him up on it I think,” Frank Lam­pard said. “You can’t come away for a month and live like a monk, but it’s up to you if you take the op­por­tu­ni­ties. You don’t have 10 beers, you have one.

“But in terms of the per­for­mance, we spoke in the week about play­ing with a bit more pas­sion and pace in our game and we cer­tainly did that in the first half.

“We play that way for our clubs, that’s why peo­ple re­gard the English Premier League as one of the best and fear it when we play to our best and if we play with those qual­i­ties then we’ve got a great chance.”

Lam­pard was one of sev­eral Eng­land play­ers whose per­for­mance was trans­formed from the list­less dis­play against Al­ge­ria, and he said that the dire con­se­quences of de­feat had helped fo­cus minds in the dress­ing room.

“You un­der­stand when you come to these tour­na­ments that, at this stage, though it came around early for us this year, you have to be big enough to stand up to knock­out games,” he said.

“You can’t af­ford off days and have to be at it from the start. From the start of the game, there was a de­ter­mi­na­tion and there was a feel­ing in the crowd from the fans, who were top-class pre-game and dur­ing the game, and it ended up a good day.”

With Lam­pard, Steven Ger­rard and Wayne Rooney per­for ming closer to their club form, Eng­land car­ried greater at­tack­ing threat, but they were still re­liant on a re­silient dis­play from cen­tre-halves John Terry and Matthew Up­son, the Chelsea cap­tain’s third part­ner of the tour­na­ment.

Both pro­duced cru­cial in­ter­ven­tions as Slove­nia pressed for an equaliser, with Up­son’s block-tackle as Tim Matavz pre­pared to shoot in the last minute snuff­ing out the fi­nal threat.

“It was a re­ac­tion af­ter the knock-down. I saw an op­por­tu­nity to take it. It had to be timed right and it was. I was pleased,” he said.

“There are lots of de­ci­sions in the game in ev­ery minute and it was a re­ac­tion more than any­thing, I’m pleased I got away with it.”

The West Ham de­fender also at­trib­uted Eng­land’s suc­cess to a re­turn to the spirit of a do­mes­tic game.

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