England finished their World Cup qualifying campaign as group winners after victory against Poland at Old Trafford.
Goals in each half from Michael Owen and Frank Lampard were enough to ensure they overtook the Poles at the top of Group Six.
Coach Sven Goran Eriksson said: “I think on Saturday [against Austria] we did a good job, today even better. If we keep this spirit and quality it’s very difficult to beat us.”
Eriksson’s starting line-up contained few surprises. Wayne Rooney replaced Peter Crouch up front. Rio Ferdinand and Ledley King came in for Sol Campbell and Steven Gerrard whilst Shaun Wright-Phillips was handed David Beckham’s role on the right. England played with more pace than they managed against the Austrians. Lampard provided the most consistent threat in the first half, although both Joe Cole and Rooney went close before the opening goal.
That arrived two minutes before the break. Lampard sent in a corner which reached Cole on the far side of the box. His shot was diverted in from close range by Owen.
Poland were level seconds before the halftime whistle. The English defence were caught napping and Tomasz Frankowski was allowed a free shot at the far post. Rooney missed an early chance to restore the lead shortly after the restart. The Polish keeper later denied Owen a second with a fine save. However, the captain on the night did set up the winner — a Lampard volley 10 minutes from time.
Wales made sure they did not finish bottom of Group Six thanks to a 2-0 win over Azerbaijan in Cardiff. Northern Ireland finished in fourth place after losing 2-0 to Austria.