Lampard takes heart from performance

November 16, 2006

Frank Lampard has urged England to take confidence from their improved performance against Holland for when they resume their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.

Head coach Steve McClaren's side were in desperate need of a lift after their woeful showing against Croatia when beaten 2-0 in Zagreb last month.

And England have now slipped out of the automatic qualifying spots and into third spot in their group after Croatia and Russia won against Israel and Macedonia respectively.

But Lampard and Co can head to Tel Aviv to face Israel in March in a more optimistic vein after drawing 1-1 in their friendly at the Amsterdam Arena.

England looked set for their first win in Holland for 37 years after Wayne Rooney had struck his first goal for his country since the 3-2 win over Argentina 12 months ago, only for Rafael Van Der Vaart to snatch an 86th-minute equaliser.

Lampard said: 'We put in a performance which hopefully will be looked upon favourably and it is important we take that into the European Championship qualifiers next year.

'To come to Holland and play like we did, being only a few minutes away from winning against a top side, really speaks volumes for the team and we can take heart from that.

'Of course, Israel is a long way away and we will all go back to our clubs now for a couple of months.

'But it is evident we are in better shape than we were in Croatia last month. We didn't play so well out there. We missed a couple of players there and we weren't on top form.

'Here we showed we are edging more towards top form. We can get better, we will get better and we will be better for the Israel game.'

England looked to have secured victory before their failure to defend a long throw-in from Arjen Robben proved costly and allowed Van der Vaart the chance to net from close range.

England skipper John Terry said: 'Overall and collectively it was a positive performance from us against a top, top nation in world football.

'We looked very solid and even when they scored the equaliser we were pressing forward and at times we had only three at the back as we went for the win.

'It was a disappointment for them to equalise like they did. They had a throw-in which we didn't manage to clear.

'It is a disappointment we will have a look at it but, like I said, overall, there were good things to come out of the game.'