England Make It to Brazil and Fans Can Start Preparing World Cup Party
And so they managed it in the end. Perhaps this wasn't the Fabio Capello-style romp to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but at a time of genuine urgency Roy Hodgson proved himself adept when it mattered.
Two deserved victories against Montenegro and Poland ensured England finished top of the group, unbeaten, their passage to the World Cup in Brazil safely completed after a year-long soap opera.
At times during last night's match Hodgson looked on the verge of physical illness. The golden generation this is not, but continued cohesion between a front three led by Wayne Rooney is England's best hope of defying expectations in Brazil.
Optimism has seeped back into the England setup after the last two matches and momentum must be maintained as the World Cup looms. Upcoming friendlies against Germany and Australia will give Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck essential game time together to further form a fruitful union.
As for Roy Hodgson and his backroom staff they now have eight months to adequately prepare a squad as the World Cup returns to its most successful ever entrant; Brazil.
With regards to what England can expect upon arrival, much will depend on the group stage draw for the tournament to be made on December 6 in the north-eastern state of Bahia. But England's group will be far from straightforward as they will not feature in Pot 1.
Brazil, as hosts, plus the first seven nations in the FIFA rankings will comprise the top seeds meaning England will be up against a football superpower from the off.
At the time of writing that would mean England playing second fiddle to one of Brazil, Uruguay, Belgium, Colombia, Italy, Germany, Argentina or Spain.
In addition, the enormity of Brazil means sides could be forced to cover hundreds of miles to play games every four days. That means playing conditions will also differ vastly, from the cooler climates of the south to the tropical heat of the north and north-east.
It will be Brazilian winter during the World Cup, but temperatures will be more in line with a European summer. Porto Alegre and Curitiba in the south will have temperatures between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius, but in the Amazonian city of Manaus temperatures can still soar to around 34 degrees with humidity also posing a problem.
However, regardless of where they are playing England will be staying at a five-star hotel in the congested neighbourhood of Copacabana, and it is likely the majority of England fans will camp down in Brazil's most famous city too.
All 12 stadiums have been built from scratch or renovated at huge public cost. Of the six that were ready for the Confederations Cup in June feedback was generally positive.
Rio's own Maracana is now on a par with Europe's top arenas in terms of facilities both for the public and the media.
But the logistics for fans getting around to matches may prove more problematic. Improvement work to airports and roads has progressed slowly and, in some cases, has been non-existent.
Tickets for the tournament have been in massive demand since they went on sale in August. The first phase of sales ended on October 10, and FIFA was inundated with over six million requests with almost 100,000 from England fans.
One million of the three million available will be allocated to Phase 1 bidders. The second phase of sales opens on December 8, two days after the group-stage draw.
Now that England are guaranteed their place at the World Cup table fans should be heading to this idyllic corner of the world in their droves.
People won't just come for the football. The 2014 World Cup is expected to be a month-long celebration, a second Brazilian Carnival of sun, sand, soccer and samba all drenched in the country's seemingly unquenchable thirst for beer and entertainment.
And what of England's chances once they touch down? Much fanfare has already been made concerning their arduous qualification campaign.
As such, for once, it seems the public is rather more realistic about the team's chances of actually winning the thing. But that doesn't mean we can't enjoy the party.
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