The Three Lions can guarantee progress to Brazil 2014 with a win at Wembley, which is less than what they needed to qualify for the 2008 European Championships when they hosted Croatia six years ago.
Requiring only a draw, England were beaten 3-2 on a night that still haunts Gerrard, and the Liverpool midfielder is desperate not to suffer a similar experience against the Poles this week.
Asked what memories will inspire him on Tuesday, Gerrard told reporters: "A big massive picture of the Croatia game in 2007.
"It's a memory I'll have to take to the grave with me. One of the lowest moments of my international journey. It is one of those memories that keeps coming back and coming back. It wasn't about nerves. We under-performed."
On that night at Wembley in 2007, Frank Lampard and Peter Crouch had each scored to cancel out Croatia's 2-0 lead, before West Ham United striker Mladen Petric won it for his side 13 minutes from time.