ESPN FC: Wembley wonders
England manager Roy Hodgson is hoping his side will take further strides forward before they play their opening game at the World Cup finals next summer.
A 2-0 win against Poland at Wembley was enough to secure top spot in Group H, with Hodgson already turning his thoughts towards the challenge that lies ahead in Brazil next June.
When asked whether his side had moved their game up to a new level since their disappointing displays in the Euro 2012 championships, Hodgson suggested his revamped and attack minded team have the potential to find another couple of gears ahead of Brazil 2014.
"I would like to think we are a lot better [than the Euro 2012 team]," he told ITV Sport. "Obviously, we have been working together for 18 months and the quality of our football, the way we try to play our football, has changed a lot from those days. And I'd like to think that in the months we have ahead, we might get even better.
"This really is a group of players that care about each other, that trust each other and I think that has been very noticeable not just in this game, but in the games against Moldova and Ukraine.
"There is great satisfaction in qualifying. It was a tough group. There were a lot of tough games in it for us. Ukraine, Poland and Montenegro have shown themselves to be very, very good opponents both home and away, but I am delighted for the players.
"I thought they played some sensational football in the first half and in the second half, when the Polish team didn't have so much to lose, I thought we dug in well and worked very hard to control them.
"We always said if we can get back to these last two games, we would be getting stronger. I've got players coming back from injury, players who I haven't had the benefit of in the past."
Hodgson reserved special praise for Tottenham winger Andros Townsend, who impressed once again after his sparkling debut England performance against Montenegro last Friday .
"We have found an outstanding winger in Townsend who has come on and played these two games as if he has been there all his life," stated Hodgson.
"There will be a lot of pressure on him now. When you perform that well at this level in front of 90,000 people on two occasions, everyone is going to look at him and ask what has happened to Andros Townsend. But he is a very level-headed young man and I think he'll deal with it."