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England midfielder Gerrard plans to start day of English triumph

12 October 2007 16:46

LONDON (AFP) - Steven Gerrard believes English sport can celebrate a double triumph on Saturday as he tries to lead his country's football team to a crucial victory over Estonia before the rugby union stars bid for a place in the World Cup final.

England captain Gerrard admits his colleagues have been inspired by the way Brian Ashton's players have come back from the dead to set up a semi-final clash against France in Paris this weekend.

England looked down and out after being thrashed by South Africa in the group stage but a herculean performance saw off Australia in the quarter-finals.

Gerrard would love to see the reigning rugby world champions get back to the final and is determined that his players do their bit for national pride as well.

"They've done fantastically well to get in the position they are in," Gerrard said. "They've had a bit of a rough ride so hopefully they can go on and reach the final."

"I've been fortunate to meet Johnny Wilkinson a couple of times doing sponsorship events. He is a great guy and I wish him all the best tomorrow night.

"It is great to see other English sports teams doing well and it is something we want to try and emulate on the football side and I am really confident we can.

"Winning the World Cup was a great achievement and they are in the semis again. It's something we feel we can do with the quality of players we've got available.

"Like them we have been through bad times together but I think it has made us stronger and if we can build on our last two performances and improve, we can achieve something together."

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