Should England fail to beat a strong Poland side tonight at Wembley and Ukraine (almost inevitably) beat San Marino, the Three Lions will be in the World Cup play-offs.
But is that really a bad thing?
Sure, the obvious answer is yes, and anyone familiar with the 'Occam's razor' principle will know that the most obvious answer is usually right.
In this case it may not be. In fact, in this case it isn't. But why?
Firstly, here we are, on the verge of World Cup qualification and the country is all a bit 'meh'.
We'll all tune in and we'll all cheer if/when we score, but it's hardly full-blown excitement is it?
A play-off fixture would get the juices flowing - something different and exciting. No England fan wants to see another major tournament without their team involved, and fans would know it's win or bust.
With what is essentially a knock-out format it would unite the nation, and the fans would be forced to get behind the team.
Couple this novelty and excitement with some of the potential opponents and it makes the idea even more intriguing.
Ranked 25th in the world and almost certainly heading for the play-offs, a tie with France is a very real possibility. Sweden would be another potential opponent - the team that beat us 4-2 last time we met.
Secondly, should we win our play-off fixture it would be a big reminder to fans ahead of Brazil that our expectations - for a long time - have been too high.
Changing the atmosphere around the England side from expectant to supportive could have a wholly positive effect.
It may remove the shackles that the likes of Wayne Rooney often appear to carry at major tournaments.
Of course, this is all dependent on England winning their play-off game. It's an entirely different debate to suggest not qualifying for the tournament is a good thing.
But a dramatic, uniting play-off win would galvanise the nation and instil a lost sense of excitement in the England national team.
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