Steve McClaren's side find their destiny back in their own hands after Israel's shock 2-1 win over Russia in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening.
Now a draw will be sufficient against Croatia on Wednesday to ensure England book their place in Austria and Switzerland next summer.
Stand-in England skipper Gerrard said: "We have been given another chance to qualify and that has to motivate every player on Wednesday evening.
"Every player's performance against Croatia has got to show that we have been lucky to be given another opportunity. Everyone must give everything to try and be there next summer.
"If we don't get there it will be so frustrating and we have to make sure we have the right mentality on Wednesday."
Gerrard admitted: "Since we lost the game in Russia it has been difficult to be an England player to be honest.
"To be in a situation where it's been out of our hands, and you are relying on other people, is not a situation you want to be in - and not a situation we should have been in.
"I don't think I've ever been in a situation like this before and I have found it hard but now we've got another opportunity.
"England want to be in the big tournaments and that's where we need to earn the right to be by getting the right result on Wednesday.
"Now we are going to be looking forward to one of the biggest games of our lives."