09:32 16 October 2013
After Ukraine’s stunning 8-0 win in San Marino, Roy Hodgson’s England team needed three further points to secure the top spot in Group H for their World Cup qualification. They got that by beating Poland 2-0 with excellent goals from Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney, ensuring England a place in Brazil.
It was Rooney who broke the deadlock, heading in a well-placed cross just before half time. Poland didn’t come back from half-time any stronger despite record attendance (20,000 supporters for the away side).
Captain Steven Gerrard sealed the deal with a spectacular goal in the closing minutes of the game.
In terms of possession, England dominated the game. They had the ball for 61% of the time, as opposed to Poland who settled for a 39% hold. But that didn’t stop both sides amassing seven fouls.
Poland only had two shots on target to England’s nine, while England bagged 17 corners to Poland’s four.
At the time of England's victory, the teams that have qualified for Brazil 2014 are Brazil (who are hosting), Australia, Japan, Iran, South Korea, Belgium, England, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Costa Rica, USA, Argentina, Colombia.
English fans seemed never in doubt. Prior to their qualification some 96,000 applications were already sent by eager England fans to watch the World Cup in Brazil.
While England may not be favourites for the title, they’ve established a brief momentum after Montenegro and now Poland to build on. Backed by dependable veteran goal scorers in the form of Gerrard and Rooney, they’ll need fresher talent to work alongside to challenge the world’s finest players.
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