By Phillipa Hopwood: England have qualified for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil after Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard’s goals in either half secured the 2-0 win over Poland at Wembley.
The host’s looked nervous in the opening stages but they were the first of the two teams to have a real chance as Leighton Baines cross found Danny Welbeck but he caught it too late and the ball rolled behind.
Before Tottenham striker 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 danger man for Poland he 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 was 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 gift 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 the Manchester United striker managed to fall short every time. 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 had a miss-communication 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 Captains 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 stealing 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 and took on two Polish defenders, went to ground but still managed to flick the ball into the empty net ahead of him to ensure qualification for England for The World Cup Finals.