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The Three Lions captain acknowledged the strength of Les Bleus, and believed that defeat in their opening match would not decide the team's success in the tournament

Steven Gerrard has insisted that England could recover from defeat against France on Monday in their Group D opening match of Euro 2012.

Expectations ahead of the tournament have been low, with Wayne Rooney suspended for the opening two matches and newly-appointed manager Roy Hodgson's limited preparation time disrupted by injuries to Gareth Barry, Frank Lampard, and Gary Cahill.

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And the England and Liverpool captain played down the Three Lions' chances as he told reporters: "It's not the end of the world whichever way it goes. It's the first game.

"It is important we don't get carried away thinking we are going to win the tournament if we win and don't commit suicide if we lose because there will still be two games to recover."

He acknowledged the strength of Les Bleus, who are unbeaten in their last 21 games, and added that progress in the tournament would depend on the team’s concentration.

“France are a fine team,” he continued.

“It’s going to be hot so we’ve got to have everyone on the ball. The key to it all is collective responsibility.

“We’ve all got to turn up and we’ve all got to perform well at the right time. There’s no point just one or two of you turning up or you’ll go home early."

His comments had followed a memorable exchange at a press conference when he was asked whether England could still be described as a serious footballing nation.

“That sort of thing is all the motivation we need,” the midfielder responded.
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“We know we have our critics and we know we have under-performed for far too long. But we also know we are better than our results at the last few major tournaments suggest.

“I have belief in myself and the players. I know how they can perform when they get it right, I see it week-in, week-out in the Premier League.

“I think one tournament very soon it will click and we will get that bit of luck that you always need. Then we will prove an awful lot of people wrong.”

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