Harry Kane issued a rousing World Cup battle cry ahead of England's biggest game for a decade – and declared his belief that he will score every time he plays.
'This is the moment of truth,' he told The Mail on Sunday. 'Our target is to win the tournament.'
At stake when England face Colombia in Tuesday's knockout clash is a place in the quarter-finals and beyond that the possibility of reaching the last four for the first time in 28 years.
'My confidence is sky-high,' said Kane, the bookies' favourite to win the Golden Boot as the top goalscorer in the tournament. So far he has netted five times, including a hat-trick against Panama.
Harry Kane issued a rousing World Cup battle cry ahead of England's biggest game for a decade – and declared his belief that he will score every time he plays
With England through to the knockout stages after victories in their first two matches, manager Gareth Southgate gambled on resting Kane and seven other players for the final group match against Belgium. It ended with a 1-0 defeat but left England with an arguably easier route to the final.
Now the England captain is raring to pick up where he left off, saying: 'I feel like I'm going to score in every game I play at this World Cup.'
The 24-year-old added: 'As a striker, you are just itching to play when you are scoring.
'You just want to be on the pitch and you know a chance will come.'
Despite encouraging signs on the pitch, a black cloud will hang over England’s hopes of a win against Colombia – ‘The curse of ITV’.
Since 1998, England have won only one out of 11 World Cup matches – 9 per cent – shown on IT V, which is to broadcast Tuesday night’s game.
By comparison, nine of the 13 World Cup matches – 69 per cent – broadcast by the BBC in the past 20 years have resulted in victory.
Some fans want the game switched. Adam Whitmore tweeted: ‘ITV should not be allowed to cover England games. We need to get 100k names on a petition.’
Previous World Cup exits shown on ITV featured David Beckham’s red card in the defeat by Argentina in 1998 and Wayne Rooney’s dismissal in the quarter final loss against Portugal in 2006.
Previous World Cup exits shown on ITV featured David Beckham’s red card in the defeat by Argentina in 1998
Thousands more England fans will join the travelling band of supporters already in Russia for the game in Moscow and the country is again expected to come to a standstill when the game kicks off at 7pm.
'This is the business end. It's a totally new tournament now. You focus on finding a way to win,' said Kane.
'The aim for me and the team now is to take it to another level. This is what we train for and work hard for, these big moments.'
The striker's fiancee Katie Goodland, 25, who is expecting their second child, has remained at home, although his mother Kim, father Patrick and brother Charlie are in Russia to cheer him on. 'Our families have been looked after well out here,' he said.
England's players have been urged to make sure they celebrate if they score in a penalty shoot-out – and hug anyone who misses – to heap pressure on the opponent taking the next kick.
The advice comes from Ben Lyttleton, author of Twelve Yards: The Art And Psychology Of The Perfect Penalty, who says a scorer must at least raise one hand above his head, and adds: ‘It’s helpful to hug a player who misses as it sends a message of unity to his team-mates who might fear a negative reaction.’
Manager Gareth Southgate, who cut a miserable figure when he missed a penalty against Germany in the semifinals of Euro 96, has been studying the psychology of shoot-outs: England have lost six out of seven at major tournaments.
'That's important. You don't want to be thinking about them. You want to be concentrating on football.'
Kane said he would love to win the Golden Boot, but lifting the gold World Cup trophy is the priority. 'The target is to win the tournament,' he said.
'If the Golden Boot comes along with that, then perfect, but the target is to help the team,' he said.
'If my goals help the team, brilliant. If not I'll be running round, working hard, and that's all I can do.' Kane is fully aware of the threat posed by Colombia and, in particular, by striker