England captain Steven Gerrard feels his side are gradually gathering momentum at Euro 2012 after they sealed their progress to the quarter-finals with a 1-0 victory over co-hosts Ukraine.
Gerrard provided the assist as the returning Wayne Rooney headed home from point-blank range for the winner just after half-time and he feels an unheralded squad can continue to improve.
England now face Italy in the quarter-finals on Sunday after topping Group D.
The Liverpool skipper said: "It was a difficult group and the idea was to try and win it. No-one believed in us at the start but we're gaining momentum at the right time.
"I don't think tonight's performance was fantastic, but we stuck together, got the job done and won 1-0 against a good team.
"We've been criticised in the past maybe for not turning up, under-performing and we can take that, we're man enough. But you saw a reaction.
"When you get criticised it's not nice and you have to react by playing better and I think that's what we did."
Gerrard brushed aside suggestions England would be overjoyed at playing Italy instead of world and European champions Spain, insisting the team were ready for whoever they may face in the remainder of the competition.
"Italy are next, they've got match-winners and we have to give them respect," he said.
"And if we do well in the next game we might play Spain again in the competition."
Goalkeeper Joe Hart was beaten once in the match, when Marko Devic's shot apparently crossed the line before being hooked clear by John Terry.
The Manchester City shot-stopper said: "I haven't seen it, but the most important thing is we won the game 1-0."
Who was England's man of the match in their win over Ukraine?