Lampard out to avoid Kiev woe
England midfielder Frank Lampard is desperately hoping his international career does not grind to a halt in five weeks' time.
Lampard is set to become the eighth member of England's exclusive 100-club on Tuesday when he reaches his landmark century of caps.
Yet the World Cup qualifier with Ukraine in Kiev has a wider significance than merely underlining the Chelsea man's status as one of the most prominent players of his generation.
For if England win, it will move them to within touching distance of a place at next summer's finals in Brazil.
However, there is a somewhat less palatable scenario too.
Defeat for Roy Hodgson's men would leave them two points adrift of their hosts, with just two matches to do something about it, and Ukraine's final match is a less than arduous trip to San Marino, who they demolished 9-0 on Friday.
"I would hate that," said Lampard.
"I enjoy being with this group of players. I enjoy the manager. I enjoy playing with the young kids in the team and playing alongside people like Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole, who I have played with for a long time.
"It will certainly be something I wouldn't want (to get knocked out).
"England want to get to the World Cup. You (the media) want to get there. The fans want to get there.
"I wouldn't want to go out like that, that's for sure."
Although Lampard spoke of his disappointment at missing out on Euro 2008 on Sunday, he admitted he has not particularly enjoyed his World Cup experiences either.
Lampard famously had a penalty saved in the 2006 shoot-out defeat to Portugal, and he then watched in horror four years later when what would have been the equalising goal in a last-16 meeting with Germany was inexplicably not given, even though Lampard's shot bounced off the bar and a yard over the line.
"You become a little bit more level headed with age," Lampard said.
"I wouldn't say there was a score to settle.
"I have been to two World Cups. But obviously if the opportunity arose to go and have a bit more of a personal impact that would be great."
The importance of Tuesday's game has not been lost on Sir Trevor Brooking, who thinks England will be destined for a play-off if they lose in the Olympic Stadium.
A Ukraine victory will put the former Soviet republic two points clear at the top of Group H, and they then have two winnable games in Poland at home and San Marino away.
"We must not lose because I am pretty sure Ukraine will win their last two games and they would then top the group [if they beat England]. We've got to draw or win," the Football Association's director of football development told talkSPORT.
"It is one of those crunch games. It's good that we go into it on the back of a good performance."