David James hopes missing out on Euro 2008 will make England more determined to reach the 2010 World Cup.
The Portsmouth keeper admits being forced to watch this summer's European Championship from afar was difficult for all involved with the national side.
Having seen serial underachievers Spain take glory in Austria and Switzerland, James sees no reason why the Three Lions cannot replicate that success in South Africa.
The first steps on the road to fulfilling that dream take place in the next seven days, with Fabio Capello's men facing Andorra in their first qualifier on Saturday before travelling to Croatia next Wednesday.
James said: "Having watched the European Championships, rather than playing in them, will certainly have an impact.
"Croatia and Russia, who were in our qualifying group, got to the latter stages.
"You think 'had we got there it might have been us in the final' so there's a lot of frustration.
"Hopefully that will translate into an eagerness for individuals and the team as a whole to make sure we do the job this time around.
"With Spain winning the tournament in the summer, and the length of time they had gone without winning something, I think we should really be focusing on trying to replicate that.
"The 1966 World Cup win was a long time ago and the whole squad wasn't born the last time England won it.
"We have the best league in the world so I think we really need the focus to have a proper go at winning this World Cup."
Despite missing out on competitive international football this summer, James believes the five friendlies England have played since their new Italian coach took charge will prove to be beneficial heading into a qualification campaign.
He said: "It's a major factor. With the timing of the appointment of Mr Capello, he has had the opportunities to look at different systems and how players work together.
"With that, he will have been able to work out his back-up plans because, with international football and the nature of injuries and form, it can be difficult to play the same team in two consecutive games.
"The run in to the first qualifier will have been invaluable."