England have qualified for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil after Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard's goals in either half secured a 2-0 win over Poland at Wembley.
The hosts looked nervous in the opening stages but they were the first of the two teams to have real chance as Leighton Baines cross found Danny Welbeck, but he caught it too late and the ball rolled behind.
Before long Tottenham winger Andros Townsend let fly from outside the area but goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny parried and Welbeck threw himself at the rebound but again the ball trickled wide.
Robert Lewandowski was the dangerman for Poland and was all over the pitch in the first half. The England defence allowed Lewandowski to be set free in their own half and the Borussia Dortmund striker ran into the box unchallenged but his final shot went agonisingly wide.
The hosts then began to press as Sturridge, Townsend and Rooney all had chances inside three minutes, but none of them could take advantage and give England with the goal they craved.
England fans must have thought that it was not their night after Welback had three consecutive chances to take England in front - but it was Manchester United’s veteran striker who finally broke the deadlock in the 41st minute as Baines' inch perfect cross found Rooney’s head and the ball shot past a sprawling Szczesny.
England came out for the second half feeling a little relieved but Poland were out to cause an upset and began to press for the equaliser, as Mateusz Klich’s first touch of the ball nearly found the net.
Lewandowski nearly had a head-in-hands moment as he and his goalkeeper got their wires crossed and his defending nearly knocked the ball into the net, but luckily it rolled narrowly wide.
Gerrard decided to lead from the front in a mission to take the game beyond Poland but the captain's long range effort went wide of Szczesny’s post.
The Arsenal keeper was definitely the busier of the two in the second half, but Lewandowski was trying to steal the show, running through on goal on several occasions, but his finish was letting him down.
England tried to run down the clock in the final stages but captain Steven Gerrard was not happy with the 1-0 lead and three minutes from time he ran into the box, took on two Polish defenders and managed to flick the ball into the empty net to ensure qualification for England for the World Cup finals.
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