My history boys! This time we'll knock out one of the big guns, says England boss Hodgson
23:10 GMT, 22 June 2012
Roy Hodgson wants to make history and guide England to their first tournament knockout-stage victory over a major footballing nation away from Wembley.
The England manager sees Sunday night's European Championship quarter-final against Italy as a chance to kill ‘a nasty statistic’.
One statistic dismissed by Hodgson was that the UEFA prize-money for winning the tournament could be 19million.
Pointing the way forward: Roy Hodgson with Gary Neville on Friday
In finishing top of their group with two victories, England have already banked 10.1m for the FA.
But Hodgson insisted: 'It's the last thing on the players’ minds. It would be nice to see a medal hanging round our necks instead.'
Sunday night in Kiev is about history for the England boss, who is expected to name the same team that started against Ukraine.
'It would put one of those nasty statistics to rest, he said. 'It would be a great step forward, no question of that.
'At West Brom I was lucky enough to put some hoodoos to bed. That’s the only way to do it.’
Getting ready: Wayne Rooney. Danny Welbeck, Steven Gerrard and Ashley Young during training in Krakow on Friday
Hodgson said he did not want to ‘burden’
his players too much. ‘I’m excited by the whole thing,’ he added. ‘But
this is not really something I want to burden the players with. I’m not
going to add to the pressure by saying, “Oh, and by the way, you can be
‘Like the rest of the country, we dream. We dream of doing well and winning matches, so let’s just try and win the game.
‘The thoughts are all positive. We will be ready. We’ll go for the result. We believe we’re a good team and we’ll go out and play well. That’s the simple thinking.’
Preparing for the big one: Scott Parker and John Terry during training
Hodgson said only if the match moves into extra time will he then nominate his five penalty-takers.
‘I don’t anticipate the game going to a penalty shootout,’ he said. ‘I’m an optimist. I anticipate us winning the game in 90 minutes.’
One of those takers is expected to be Steven Gerrard, who has excelled as England captain during this tournament.
Liverpool team-mate Glen Johnson insists
Gerrard has come good as his country’s leader, saying: ‘Steven has been a
fantastic player for many years, but with the armband I think he feels
he needs to step up a tiny bit more, and he’s done it more than anyone
All eyes on you, Glen: Johnson at the Hutink Stadium in Krakow ahead of this weekend's showdown with Italy
There is a new wave of optimism around the England camp now and Johnson added: ‘Any team in the tournament has got a chance of winning it.
‘The first objective was to get out of the group, we did that very well, so now it’s a one-off game and in a one-off game you can beat anyone.’
Another one-off is Mario Balotelli but Hodgson has told his players not to target the Italy striker.
‘I’m too much the purist coach to go along that line,’ he said.