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I died every time Poland crossed the half way line - Hodgson

ESPN staff
October 16, 2013 « Injured Ozil limps out of Germany victory | Chartbeat test »
England headed to 'special' World Cup

Roy Hodgson admitted he died "a thousand deaths" every time Poland crossed the half way line during England's final World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Tuesday night, but praised his side for handling the pressure of the occasion.

Wayne Rooney headed in shortly before half-time before Steven Gerrard sealed the win with two minutes remaining to book their place at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil with a 2-0 win over Poland.

Hodgson admitted that leading England to Brazil crowned the proudest moment of his managerial career, but he would now be putting thought of the World Cup to the back of his mind.

"Taking Switzerland [to the 1994 World Cup] was also a real achievement. But I'm English; you can't get away from the fact it means a little bit more to you when you can do it with your own country," Hodgson said.

"We've got a chance. If you want to win the lottery, buy a lottery ticket. We have our ticket, which is useful in itself. I'm not being emotional, but emotions are churning around inside me. I died a thousand 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.

"Obviously I'm delighted for the players. 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."

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