England vs. Poland: 6 Things We Learned from World Cup Qualifier

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England vs. Poland: 6 Things We Learned from World Cup Qualifier
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

England have qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, after Wayne Rooney's superb headed goal and Steven Gerrard's late strike were enough to see off Poland at Wembley.

Roy Hodgson's team dominated the first half, with Andros Townsend, Leighton Baines and Rooney all standing out. At times, the Polish goal looked like it was leading a charmed life. If it were not for an outstanding display by Wojciech Szczesny and some poor finishing by the likes of Daniel Sturridge, England would have scored four or five.

As the first half drew to a close, Townsend smashed an outstanding curling effort off the crossbar which seemed to reawaken his team. Minutes later, Baines tore down the left to center for Rooney. The Manchester United forward directed his header with amazing skill past the outstretched Szczesny and into the net to settle his nation's nerves.

Instead of kicking on in the second half, England were forced to endure a few scary moments, as the swift counterattacking Poles opened up their defense. Joe Hart came to the rescue on more than one occasion without having to make an outstanding save, but his contribution was vital.

As the minutes ticked down, Hodgson introduced Frank Lampard and Jack Wilshere to shore up the central midfield, as Gerrard was pushed on into a more attack-minded position.

Those substitutions proved vital, as Gerrard strode onto Lampard's ball and forced his way past two defenders and into the box. He then deftly guided the ball past Szczesny to send England into raptures and thousands of fans to the phone, trying to book their tickets for Rio.

Here, Bleacher Report offers six things we learned from England vs. Poland...


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