Roy Hodgson was delighted that England had their 'lottery ticket' for next summer's World Cup in Brazil after sealing qualification.
England's 2-0 defeat of Poland means they win Group H and qualify automatically, and while Hodgson would not make a prediction about how England would do, he was thrilled that England would be among the only 32 teams who have a shot at winning it.
“We've got a chance,” Hodgson said afterwards. “If you want to win the lottery, buy a lottery ticket. We have our ticket, which is useful in itself.”
Hodgson did admit his nerves after a game in which Poland missed chances to go 1-0 up, and to pull it back to 1-1, before Steven Gerrard's goal in the penultimate minute. There were points in the first half when England looked vulnerable on the break, as Hodgson conceded.
“I'm not being emotional, but emotions are churning around inside me. I died 1,000 deaths every time they crossed the halfway line, which is what you do. I'll put my concerns for Brazil behind me for a while.”
Hodgson was thrilled with the quality of some of England's attacking football and how his team managed to win the two crucial must-win qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland in the last week.
“Obviously I'm delighted for the players,” Hodgson said. “These matches were high pressure, but their performances have been good. We had to dig in for a spell in the second half this evening, which we did very well. Some of the football in the first half was quite spectacular and 1-0 at half-time was scant reward, but we couldn't relax at 1-0, especially with the quality players they have.”
“For a team with nothing to play for, Poland showed a lot of heart and fight. But we came through. It's job done. We're very happy, and we're looking forward to going to Brazil, something the whole nation wants and backs us over.”
“There will be a lot of pressure on us, but this team is growing in accepting pressure. The blend between the senior and young players looks good. I'm hoping they all stay fit because it's made a big difference getting all the young players fit again.”