Gary Neville is convinced England’s World Cup day of judgement will arrive when they face Portugal.
Right-back Neville is expected to be recalled at Michael Carrick’s expense for Saturday’s quarter-final after overcoming a calf injury.
“I believe there is a time and a moment for players to deliver and I think it will be on Saturday,” said Neville to the Sun.
“If we fail we have to hold our hands up and say the talk of us being potential world champions was rubbish.”
If England go out in the quarter-finals – as they did in Japan four years ago and in Euro 2004 against Portugal – Neville promised there would be no excuses from the team.
He said: “If we don’t deliver then I will be talking on Saturday after the game saying that you have found the true measure of this team. I have said before this tournament that there are no excuses this time. We are not coming off that pitch on Saturday thinking ‘we could have done this better’ or ‘we could have done that better’. We have got to make sure that if Portugal seem to be doing better in one area of the pitch, we have to deal with it. We have to fix that problem. We can’t allow it to just slowly eat away at us during the match – we have to affect the game. We have to use our experience. We have got players in the team who, I think, will deliver on Saturday.”
Neville believes England will reach a World Cup semi-final for the first time since 1990, when Bobby Robson’s team sealed a last-four place.
“This is it for us. In four years we will be in South Africa. It could be 45 degrees, we might not qualify, we could get a group of death. We have had a pretty decent track to this quarter-final and now we have got to beat Portugal to get to the World Cup semi-final. Is this England team capable of doing it? Can it do it? I believe the answer is yes.”