Lamps impressed by Ecuador
22 Jun 2006 - 11:24:59
Frank Lampard insists the England players will not underestimate their World Cup round of 16 opponents Ecuador in Stuttgart on Sunday.
Many England fans were delighted the team managed to top Group B and avoid an early meeting with Germany, but Lampard believes Ecuador will prove to be formidable opponents.
The South American side beat Poland and Costa Rica in their first two Group A games to qualify for the last 16, before slumping to a 3-0 defeat against Germany after coach Luis Fernando Suarez decided to rest a number of key players.
"Ecuador are not to be underestimated. They have been well beaten by Germany but the two performances they put in beforehand were very good," said the Chelsea midfielder.
"I think we fully understand now at his level that you don't get any easy games especially in the last 16 so we will have to be right on top form.
"There will be pressure because we are expected to win - but then we've been expected to win all the games so far so there is nothing new there.
"But this is important now because this is the real business end because you know if you lose, you are out.
"Ecuador will be as desperate to get through to the quarter-finals as we are. We have to understand people will talk us up as favourites but if we are not on top of our game then we will make it very tough.
"We have to make sure we are at our game and ready to come out of the traps from the start."
The winner of the game will face either Portugal or the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.