The Three Lions secured their passage to Ukraine and Poland after securing the point they needed against group rivals Montenegro and can now make up for their absence in 2008
Goals from Ashley Young and Darren Bent had given Fabio Capello's side a comfortable lead before being eventually pegged back by Andrija Delibasic's injury-time header. Further misery was dumped on the England as Wayne Rooney was sent off in the second half and now faces a minimum one-game ban.
England are now guaranteed to come top of their group, despite having dropped home points against the Montenegrins and Switzerland earlier on in qualification.
The result against Montenegro means England have gone the entire campaign unbeaten, with comfortable away victories against the Swiss, Wales and Bulgaria.
And with qualification for next year now secure, the FA can start preparing friendly matches against other teams guaranteed to be in Ukraine and Poland, such as Spain and the Netherlands who had no trouble in also topping their groups.
The tournament next year will be very significant for England having failed to qualify for the 2008 version after coming third in their group behind Croatia and Russia, with the former winning 3-2 at Wembley in the final game of the group stages – a match which proved to be Steve McClaren’s last in charge of the national side.
Next year will also be a symbolic moment for England manager Fabio Capello, with the Italian set to end his managerial career in his second major international tournament, although there are rumours of a move to rich Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala.
Regardless of whether he retires or not after next year’s tournament, Capello will definitely be leaving the post at the end of next summer and will want to end his time in charge of England on a high after the 2010 World Cup damaged his brilliant record which includes titles wins at Real Madrid and clubs in Italy.
Other qualified teams - Spain, Italy, Ukraine & Poland (hosts), Netherlands, Germany.