Captain Steven Gerrard admits it will take England a lengthy period of time to recover from their World Cup despair.
The Liverpool midfielder believes only a successful Euro 2012 qualifying campaign followed by tournament glory in Ukraine and Poland can repair the damage. Fabio Capello's side take on Bulgaria at Wembley tonight followed by an away clash with Switzerland on Tuesday.
Gerrard knows the pressure is on the players to perform after crashing out at the last 16 stage in South Africa. He said: "I think it's a similar situation to when we didn't qualify for Euro 2008 under Steve McClaren which was a low moment. It's going to take time to recover from this position."
He added: "The only way we can recover is to improve results and try to qualify smoothly out of this group.
"Then we've got to try to prove to people in the tournament, if we get there, that we can do a lot better than in South Africa."
Gerrard is adamant his passion and hunger to play for England is as great as ever.
He is determined to end his international career on a high rather than with the despair of losing 4-1 to Germany in Bloemfontein in late June.
He said: "I still enjoy England. I love it. I really do. Hand on heart, I enjoy coming down here.
"I've had a lot of lows with England, of course, but there's no way in the world I was going to go out after that Germany game.
"I'm 30 years of age and there's still an opportunity for me to go out on a high with England. That's the challenge moving forward. I'm as excited as I was going into the World Cup games going into this qualifier with Bulgaria."