Fabio Capello has managed to get rid of the fear factor in England's squad, according to skipper John Terry.
Seven wins from as many World Cup qualifiers means Capello's men head into tonight's clash against Holland full of confidence, even if they have lost previous friendlies to France and Spain during the Italian's reign.
Terry, however, feels there is a change in mentality from players approaching matches against high-class opponents, with Holland ranked third in the world in this case.
"Players would be lying if they told you there wasn't any fear coming into big games with England," Terry said.
"But it's been wiped away. We've overcome that mental barrier. We had to, and we've done that."
Terry believes Capello can give his team-mates the belief they can be contenders in South Africa next year, once they have put the final touches to their qualification campaign.
The Chelsea skipper experienced the magic touch Jose Mourinho brought to Stamford Bridge and has seen the same in Capello, not least from half-time team talks when the Italian starts calm but can also dish out the "hairdryer" treatment.
"Mourinho had that and Fabio does too," Terry said. "You come in at half-time and he hates it if the lads are talking or shouting to each other or arguing.
"He wants everyone to sit there for two or three minutes, take it in and absorb it, then approach things in a calmer way. You can come in hot-headed wanting better from your team-mates, but he comes in, wants us to be calm - and he can then go mad himself. He can be calm or the hairdryer.
"In the past, we've been a bit too quiet with each other and not expressed our feelings. Maybe there was too much respect between the players. But now we talk to each other and listen to what each other is saying."
Croatia next month is the chance to put one foot on the plane to the World Cup and erase the memory of failing to reach Euro 2008, a period that saw Terry's position as skipper questioned.
"I never doubted myself, but I understood that some people might doubt me as an England captain with us not qualifying," Terry said.
"I understand and take responsibility from that. I've learned a few things from before, about how not to do things, but now everyone's playing freely and confident under the new manager.
"If we can get there, every big team there will have a good chance and we'll be no different. If we play the way we are, we can't rule England out from winning the World Cup."
Capello's approach will be the key if England get it right next year, according to Terry.
"That bit of quality separates the good from the great," the 28-year-old said.
"This manager is a great manager. But we're not where we want to be yet. We've got another 10 or 15% to go to. "When we do, we'll be at the top of our game."