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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 22, 2008

Beckham eager to make Wembley a fortress

David Beckham believes England have to make Wembley a fortress once again to help them reach the 2010 World Cup finals.

Fabio Capello's squad completed their fifth and final friendly before the qualification campaign begins with a below-par 2-2 draw in front of only 69,000 fans against the Czech Republic on Wednesday night - where it took a scrappy injury-time goal from substitute Joe Cole to earn a draw.

Since their return to the now renovated famous venue against Brazil in June 2007, England have been beaten twice - including in a crunch clash with Croatia, which ended Steve McClaren's reign after failure to reach Euro 2008.

Los Angeles Galaxy star Beckham, though, hopes those fortunes will change during the next set of competitive matches, which kick off with an away double header against Andorra and the Croats next month.

'We haven't made Wembley our home yet, that's the biggest thing,' Beckham said. 'It feels like when we're going out there it's tough.

'Every game is tough these days, but we need to make it daunting for players and teams coming to Wembley. We will get there, we will build on that, but it's about getting the confidence up, which will happen in the qualifiers.'

Beckham acknowledges expectation levels are always raised when England set out on the road towards a major tournament.

'The manager thrives on challenges, he wants the best out of the team, and he'll get that,' said the former England captain. 'People expect change straight away and it just doesn't happen like that.

'It is step by step, it's about bonding together as a team, as a unit, and that takes time.'

Cole, meanwhile, feels Capello's meticulous attention to detail will see England emerge as a force in world football once again.

'There is a lot difference. It's the tiny things, the minute details,' said Cole.

However, the Chelsea man stressed: 'It won't happen overnight. People who understand the game know that managers sometimes come in, there is a big blitz of goals and then it (fades away).

'What we have done is the right way, slowly. We are getting better. We are going up and down a little bit, but we're going in the right direction. It's in place now, we've got the coach, the captain, the vice-captain. Now we can start moving forward.'

Cole added: 'We have got the cobwebs out of the way, back into the England mindset. We have got to go away and there are some important games for our clubs - but we are set for England now.

'We are ready for Croatia, that is for sure.'

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