England secured qualification for the World Cup finals in 2014 with the most free-flowing, entertaining and exhilarating performance in decades after a 2-0 win over Poland. A premonition that before kick-off would have been assured of being farfetched and ludicrous is a definite reality eight months out from Brazil.
For those who passed off the superb performance which accompanied the thumping win over Montenegro as England expending nervous energy, then the showing which downed an expansive Poland at Wembley may force some to reassess not the nation's hopes in South America next summer, but the progression made under Hodgson's guidance.
Hosts Brazil, holders Spain, three-time winners Germany, the effervescent Netherlands and star-studded Belgium remain the undoubted favourites ahead of next summer but England have proved in the highest pressure games for over a decade they have the capacity to perform when it matters.
Hodgson might have unconvinced in his claim following last month's drab draw with Ukraine that England had adopted an attacking guise in Kiev, but even his harshest critics can't argue that his side attacked unrelentingly when it mattered most, performances which accompanied two fine pressure-filled wins.
At Euro 2012 against Italy, England fought for their lives in the quarter final with a desperate performance, eventually succumbing on penalties. When in Brazil next summer, Hodgson has now provided evidence he will now throw caution to the wind in a tournament The Football Association have already written-off.
Clinical in qualification they might have been under Sven Goran Eriksson and Fabio Capello, but seldom in major competition did England play without the shackles of expectation or football fitting of the big occasion. Exits at the hands of Brazil, Portugal and Germany were lifeless at best.
After two games at Wembley, with Wayne Rooney approaching his best form for over three years, Andros Townsend emerging and Steven Gerrard on a last hurrah, Hodgson possesses a squad with little to lose.
Having proven England can thrill on the biggest stage against Montenegro and Poland, he will be under pressure to produce a repeat performance. England expects, again.
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