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WC Qualification Europe
October 15, 2013
• Wembley Stadium, London
Referee: D. Skomina
• Attendance: 85186
W. Rooney 41'
S. Gerrard 88'
Well, that's all from our LIVE coverage of the World Cup qualifiers tonight. England will be relieved to have made it through the group. Next stop: Brazil! For now, though, it's goodbye!
It finished 8-0 (EIGHT) to Ukraine in San Marino, but the Euro 2012 hosts will have to go through the playoffs to make the World Cup. Their joint hosts - England's opponents tonight - finish fourth in the group behind Montenegro, who lost 5-2 in a stunning game at home to Moldova.
It was a tense affair in the latter stages after England couldn't convert their dominance into a more dominant lead, but Steven Gerrard's late strike made sure and the Three Lions go to Brazil having failed to lose in all ten qualifiers.
FULL TIME at Wembley and England have beaten Poland 2-0! The win Group H and are going to the World Cup!
90' + 2'
Milner collects the ball on the edge of the box and drives an effort towards goal which deflects behind. England will surely keep this in the corner now.
90' + 1'
Welbeck shows real determination - even at this late stage - to win the ball and he links up with Rooney before the hosts earn a corner.
There will be two minutes' added time at Wembley and Poland are still looking to push forward, but that two-goal cushion has removed any nerves for England.
Wembley has erupted with sheer delight and relief from the home fans. They are ecstatic with that goal and the knowledge they will top Group H.
Goal Steven Gerrard
GERRARD SCORES!! ENGLAND ARE GOING TO THE WORLD CUP!! That looks to have sealed it as Milner intercepts the ball in midfield before lofting an excellent ball over for Gerrard. The skipper latches on to it and cuts inside, forcing his way through two defenders before poking it past Szczesny. That's surely job done for England.
Hart fires the ball forward and Welbeck goes up for it. It comes back to Baines who wins a throw inside the Poland half, killing more precious time for the hosts.
Townsend can't keep the ball in play on the right and Poland have a throw. That's the winger's last contribution as James Milner comes on to replace him. It looks like just a case of holding on now for Hodgson and England.
Klich curls an early ball in from the left looking for Lewandowski, but it's too high for him and ends up going through to Joe Hart. Just five minutes separate England and a place in Brazil next summer.
Gerrard gives the ball straight to Lewandowski and ends up having to foul the striker in the centre circle. The nerves are clearly settling in for the home side.
Klich's ball forward is cut out by Lampard and he feeds the ball to Rooney. He doesn't really have an option so he tries to run it on his own, but Krychowiak slides in well to win the ball.
Welbeck drops deep and does well to win the ball and find Townsend, but Wojtkowiak gets in front of the winger and wins the ball back for the visitors. It's starting to feel quite tense among the home fans, now, as they realise how quickly things could change.
Yellow Card Wayne Rooney
England give it away and Poland break quickly through Peszko, who is again brought down in his stride, this time by Rooney, and there's another yellow card.
Just over 10 minutes left at Wembley, and it's still only 1-0 to England. A goal for Poland here could change everything and force the hosts into the playoffs.
Yellow Card Artur Jędrzejczyk
SAVE!! Moments after Jedrzejczyk is booked for a foul on Sturridge, the England striker sees a shot saved as he cuts in from the left and fires a right-footed effort at goal, which Szczesny parries over.
Yellow Card Frank Lampard
Rooney loses possession and Peszko has a chance to break into the England have, but Lampard tugs him bag and the England substitute goes into the book.
The ball is whipped in and Sturridge goes down in the box, but the referee waves away the half-hearted appeals.
Wojtkowiak gives it straight to Lampard and England have the ball again. Townsend breaks down the right and fires in a cross which is headed behind by Celeban.
England have a free kick out on the right and Baines comes across to take. Welbeck tries to flick the ball on but Poland clear.
Lampard wins the ball in midfield and finds Gerrard. England have a chance to push forward but they decide to go back and keep possession.
Michael Carrick is the man to make way for the Chelsea midfielder. It's an interesting call from Hodgson; perhaps he's looking for England to add to their lead rather than tighten things up?
England are preparing to make a chance and it looks like Frank Lampard is about to come on for the hosts.
Poland get the ball back but Gerrard wins a header in midfield and Carrick - who has been very solid tonight - tidies things up.
England have the ball at the back now. This is a chance for them to slow things down a little. They'll want another goal but won't want to commit too much going forward.
SAVED!! Szczesny keeps Poland within touching distance after Rooney cuts in from the left before bending a superb effort towards the top corner, but the Arsenal goalkeeper palms it away well.
Smalling produces a superb tackle on Lewandowski as Poland look to move forward quickly. The visitors may well have been in behind had he missed that; excellent defending.
Krychowiak has a rare break forward and tries to play it beyond the England defence, but Jagielka reads the pass well and clears into touch.
Mierzejewski gets in another good position and pulls it back for Lewandowski on the six-yard line, but he's quickly closed down. England break and Townsend cuts inside before firing a left-footed shot from distance straight at Szczesny.
Poland are enjoying a good spell of possession, now. Smalling does well to cut out a pass from Mierzejewski, but they keep the ball and England have to stay alert here.
Great chance for Poland! Lewandowski latches on to a ball beyond the defence and is through on goal. Hart dashes out quickly to close down the angle, and the striker tries to flick it past but the England shot-stopper manages to make the save.
England have another effort at goal as Gerrard has plenty of space in midfield to line up a shot, but his 30-yard strike rolls well wide.
England have another good chance as Gerrard finds Rooney in space, but he decides not to shoot and works it wide to Townsend, whose cross is straight at Szczesny.
Lewandowski and Cahill come up against each other - not for the first time this evening - and the England defender takes out the Dortmund striker, giving Poland a free kick in midfield.
SO CLOSE!! Gerrard sets Rooney away down the right and he plays the ball into the middle looking for Welbeck. Krychowiak slides across to intercept but almost puts it into his own net as the ball rolls inches wide.
Mierzejewski has space the middle and chips the ball through the defence looking for the run of Wojtkowiak, but the defender can't quite get on the end of it.
Ukraine are now 4-0 up in San Marino. That game will finish as expected, but the result is by no means decided at Wembley.
Gerrard gives it away in midfield and Celeban looks to get forward on the Poland right, but Welbeck covers really well and wins the ball back for the hosts.
Save! Cahill rises highest to meet Gerrard's corner and heads towards the far post, but Szczesny comfortably manages to turn it behind.
Close!! Rooney is the man involved again as he gets to the right-hand edge of the box and clips the ball over for Welbeck, who volleys across the danger area but it's hacked away for a corner.
England get their first move of the half going, and Rooney has space before looking up and floating a ball over for Welbeck, who heads back to Gerrard but his effort is deflected behind.
England have looked sluggish in these opening stages, and Poland win another corner but Welbeck does well to head away.
Lewandowski loops a near-post header towards goal and Hart fists it away but the ball lands for Klich, who fires a volleyed effort well over.
Chance straight away! Poland start the second half as they make one change, with Mateusz Klich replacing Mariusz Lewandowski, and the substitute sees a shot deflected wide by Cahill after 27 seconds.
Right then, just a minute or two from the restart at Wembley. Can England continue to assert their dominance and kill the game off, or can Poland manage to work their way back in?
England fans will of course remember "that" Luka Modric goal at Wembley which meant they failed to qualify for Euro 2008. It's going well for the Three Lions so far, but no-one will be resting on their laurels.
In the other Group H fixture Montenegro - who have been in abysmal form since their good start to the campaign - are 1-0 down at home to Montenegro. Their saving grace is that Poland need to win at Wembley to snatch third place away from them.
Lewandowski has shown some of the quality we're used to seeing, but Poland lack quality throughout the side. For England, Carrick's contribution mustn't be forgotten. He's orchestrated things superbly and so often found Baines on the left in space.
Ukraine are 3-0 up in San Marino at the interval, but thanks to that Rooney goal England are top of the group as it stands. There's still plenty of time left and the hosts have been caught on the break once or twice. Hodgson will want his side to extend their lead in the second half before tightening things up to see out the win.
That's HALF TIME at Wembley as we have no added time, and England go in 1-0 up after an absolutely superb half of football. Time to catch our breath, now!
Another chance!! The hosts have a corner and Sturridge peels away from his man at the far post, but completely fluffs his header and it goes wide. At the other end Poland have a goal chalked off as Sobota is caught offside chasing a through ball.
You could almost feel the sigh of relief around Wembley just then. England have been in charge of this game and absolutely deserve that lead.
Assist Leighton Baines
Goal Wayne Rooney
ROONEY SCORES!! There's the goal at last, and it's England's number 10 once more!! Carrick plays wide to Baines, who picks out Rooney with an absolutely perfect cross into the six-yard box, and the Manchester United man powers a header low into the corner of the net.
Five minutes to go until half time. England have been completely dominant but there's still no breakthrough. Can Poland hold on until the whistle goes?
Lewandowski shows more good defensive skills to head away the corener but his pass for Blaszczykowski asks too much of the captain and England gather. Townsend breaks down the flank and finds Sturridge, but again there is a red wall blocking the shot.
There's a distinct Manchester United connection as Carrick slides into Rooney, who flicks into the path of Welbeck, but the striker's shot is blocked and goes behind.
Save! England are hammering the Poland defence right now, and this time it's Rooney who has a shot, turning and shooting in one movement from 20 yards, forcing a good low stop from Szczesny.
England have another chance! Rooney plays a lovely ball over for Gerrard, who volleys a first-time pass into the path of Welbeck, who is through on goal, but he can't get it under control and Szczesny clears.
There's another shot, although it's a tame one this time as Sturridge fires well wide from the edge of the box.
Gerrard's ball is poor, though, and Lewandowski heads it away. England still have the ball and are really on top at the moment.
Superb work from Baines as he dashes in to steal the ball off Blaszczykowski before being taken out by Krychowiak, and England have another set piece...
Close again!! England have a corner and Welbeck challenges for the ball 12 yards out. It eventually drops in front of the Manchester United man, but he pulls his shot wide. Another great chance!
Rooney spreads it wide to Baines, who again has time to fire in a cross. It evades Sturridge and falls to Gerrard, but the midfielder is closed down quickly.
Poland win a corner and Carrick does really well to get ahead of Lewandowski to win the header. England have a goal kick though, so it looks like it came off the striker before going out.
OFF THE BAR!! So, so close for Townsend as he cuts in from the left and finds Welbeck before getting it back. He the curls a superb effort from 25 yards which rattles the crossbar, before Sturridge follows up with an effort which Szczesny saves at his near post.
There's hardly time to take any breath, here. What a game it's been!
Another great chance! Townsend sprints down the right and plays it low into the box for Sturridge, who can't quite get the ball out of his feet to get a shot away. Poland take forever to clear the ball, though, and Sturridge is almost in again but it's forced behind for a corner.
Rooney looks for Sturridge with a first-time flicked pass around the corner, but the ball is cut out. England look good in possession but it's not quite coming off in the final third yet.
Great chance for Poland! Townsend wins a corner for England, but Poland launch a counter straight away. Blaszczykowski strides forward and squares to Lewandowski in acres of space, but the striker drags his left-footed effort wide. Massive let-off for the hosts.
Close! Gerrard fires in the cross this time, and Smalling is closest to it but can't make a connection six yards out, so the ball flies just past Szczesny's far post.
Hart launches a goal kick forward and Sturridge eventually gathers before Welbeck is felled by Jedrzejczyk on the left, giving the hosts another chance to fire in a cross...
Approaching 20 minutes and it's been a fascinating game so far. Townsend has had England's best effort with a powerful shot, while Lewandowski has looked Poland's biggest threat. Hodgson's men must be wary of giving him too much space.
Ukraine are already 2-0 up against San Marino. It's hardly a surprise, but as it stands England are second in the group.
The Everton man pulls it back low looking for Sturridge but Poland easily clear.
Chance for England as Baines is brought down on the left-hand side. It's a great opportunity for the full-back to whip in a cross, here...
England win a corner but Baines' delivery is headed away by Lewandowski. It's still being played at a frantic pace.
Close! Blaszczykowski gets past Welbeck with ease but is tackled by Jagielka. Poland retain possession though and it's worked to Sobota, who tries to sneak a shot in at the near post but it goes into the side netting.
Lewandowski collects the ball on the edge of the box and manages to skip away from Gerrard and Townsend before trying a right-footed effort, but Cahill manages to block before the flag goes up for offside against Sobota.
It's been a really high-tempo start at Wembley; very entertaining so far.
Save! Townsend is carrying on where he left off on Friday as he works some space on the edge of the box before firing a fierce effort at goal. Szczesny parries it away and Welbeck is first to it but can't get a meaningful touch to direct it back towards goal.
Poland have their first effort of the match, but it's a tame one as Lewandowski surges forward through the middle before firing it striaght at Hart from the edge of the box.
Chance! Rooney finds Baines with a fine pass out to the left, and the defender swings it in. The ball evades the defender and takes Welbeck slightly by surprise, and the Manchester United man's effort deflects just wide of the post.
Gerrard gives it away in midfield, but Lewandowski and Blaszczykowski appear to be on slightly different wavelengths and the ball ends up rolling through to Hart.
England are taking their time here, looking for passes, and Gerrard plays it into Sturridge, who sees a 25-yard shot blocked on the edge of the box.
It really is incredibly noisy inside Wembley. It almost sounds like an away game!
There are plenty of boos from the away fans as England keep possession before Townsend concedes a free kick in midfield, but the visitors can't make use of it and the ball goes out of play.
Townsend looks to make his first push down the right but Artur Jedrzejczyk gets across well to steal possession from the winger.
England try to settle down quickly with some early possession in defence. Michael Carrick is forced to concede a throw by Adrian Mierzejewski, but Gary Cahill sees the ball out for a goal kick as Poland look for Robert Lewandowski.
We're underway as England get the game started.
Plenty of flares go off in the Poland end as they belt out the national anthems. Just a few minutes away from the start at Wembley; can the hosts get the win they need?
The teams leave the tunnel and there's a massive noise from both sets of fans as the sides march on to the pitch. It's electric inside Wembley Stadium tonight.
England are actually unbeaten in competitive international fixtures since the heartbreaking defeat to Germany in the 2010 World Cup. They were knocked out of Euro 2012 by Italy on penalties and have failed to lose in this qualifying campaign so far, winning five and drawing four.
There's been a lot of debate over whether it was a good decision to offer 18,000 tickets to Poland fans, but there's no denying it'll make for a fantastic atmosphere inside Wembley.
Poland are still without defender Lukasz Piszczek, while Lukasz Szukala is banned, so Piotr Celeban comes into a slightly makeshift defence. Mateusz Klich also drops out of the side in favour of Adrian Mierzejewski, while coach Waldemar Fornalik has kept Wojciech Szczesny in goal ahead of Southampton's in-form shot-stopper Artur Boruc.
Andros Townsend keeps his starting berth for the Three Lions after his thoroughly impressive debut against Montenegro on Friday. Can he match his performance tonight and help send England to the World Cup?
So, Chris Smalling comes in at full-back for the suspended Kyle Walker, while Michael Carrick is drafted into the England midfield by Roy Hodgson as Frank Lampard drops to the bench.
POLAND: Szczesny; Celeban, Jedrzejczyk, Glik, Wojtkowiak; Krychowiak, M Lewandowski; Blaszczykowski, Mierzejewski, Sobota; R Lewandowski. // Subs: Boruc, Fabianski, Wasilewski, Polanski, Jodlowiec, Zielinski, Peszko, Rzezniczak, Sobiech, Wawrzyniak, Klich.
ENGLAND: Hart; Smalling, Cahill, Jagielka, Baines; Carrick, Gerrard; Townsend, Rooney, Welbeck; Sturridge. // Subs: Ruddy, Forster, Jones, Gibbs, Wilshere, Lampard, Milner, Barkley, Defoe, Sterling, Lambert.
The line-ups are in so let's get straight to business and bring you the team news, starting with the hosts...
There are a few permutations that could affect the standings in Group H tonight, but they do require minnows San Marino to pull off the ultimate shock and get a result against Ukraine. Assuming the joint Euro 2012 hosts win as expected, only a win will do for England. A draw will see Hodgson's men finish second in the group and put them into a playoff.
Hello and welcome to LIVE coverage of the World Cup qualifier between England and Poland at Wembley. It's the climax of European qualification tonight and Roy Hodgson's men can seal a spot in Brazil next summer with victory here.
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