Roy Hodgson breathed a huge sigh of relief after England beat Poland on a tense evening at Wembley to qualify for the FIFA World Cup finals.
Goals from Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard ensured the hosts won 2-0 to secure top spot in Group H and a trip to Brazil next year.
Hodgson's side wasted several opportunities and found Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny in fine form until Rooney opened the scoring with his seventh goal in six group games.
And captain Gerrard calmed the nerves with a second goal two minutes from time to spark jubilant scenes - including England assistant manager Ray Lewington sprinting down the touchline - after Poland had their chances to spoil the party.
Hodgson reflected on a job well done and is confident England can make further strides before playing on the biggest stage of all in South America next year.
He told ITV Sport: "It's a great satisfaction, it was a tough group with a lot of difficult games because Poland, Montenegro and Ukraine proved tough opponents.
"I'm delighted for them, we played some good football in the first half and luckily Steven got the goal at the end, which gave Ray chance to show sprinting ability.
"We've been getting better all the time. One of our best performances was in our first game when we beat Montenegro 5-0 away and we have played some great stuff here.
"We always felt if we could get to these last two games and get some players back we would have a great chance."
Hodgson believes England are a more accomplished side than they were in the European Championship last year and he is sure that the best is yet to come.
He added: "I'd like to think we're a lot better, we've been working together 18 months. Hopefully we can get better in the months leading up to Brazil."
|UEFA Europa League Preview: Brondby and Slovan to protect handsome leads|
|Bentaleb pens new long-term deal at Tottenham|
|Barca agree Turan deal|
|FIFA bans Mayne-Nicholls|
|United States v Honduras: Klinsmann demands improvement ahead of Gold Cup opener|
|CONCACAF institutes extensive reforms in wake of FIFA corruption scandal|
|Mauri completes Milan move|
|City sign Turkey striker|
|Women´s World Cup final draws huge US TV ratings|
|My first Chelsea team better than current crop - Drogba|
|Bertrand set for lay-off after knee surgery|
|New five-year Juve deal for Marchisio|
|Allegri extends Juve contract|
|Koeman reiterates Alderweireld interest|
|Valencia bag Bakkali|
|New York City FC complete Pirlo capture|
|Panama v Haiti: Collat ready to challenge the best of CONCACAF|
|UEFA Champions League Preview: Harrison eyes TNS progression|
|FIFA sanctions Yemen for fielding ineligible player|
|Toulouse rubbish Ben Yedder exit reports|
|Mourinho ´knows what he´s doing´ with Falcao signing|
|Watford shell out club-record fee for Capoue|
|Braafheid signs Lazio extension|
|Nani finalises Fenerbahce move|
|Liverpool confirm O´Driscoll appointment|
|Liverpool have to start better - Lucas|
|USA simply too good - Sasaki|
|Portland Timbers 1 San Jose Earthquakes 0: Jewsbury wins it in stoppage time|
|No move yet for Van Persie|
|Lloyd wins Golden Ball, Silver Boot awards|
|Mascherano: I never grabbed Banega|
|Dunga requested Brazil not appeal Neymar´s suspension|
|United States 5 Japan 2: Lloyd stars with hat-trick|
|Fiorentina deny Inter criticism|
|Nani relishing Fenerbahce opportunity|
|Newcastle hold talks over Northampton youngster|
|Cuadrado´s agent plays down Chelsea exit rumours|
|Liverpool´s Alberto set for Deportivo loan|
|Leverkusen suffer surprise defeat, Stuttgart hit six|
|Inter ´dismayed´ at Fiorentina vice-president´s Salah Twitter outburst|
|Blaszczykowski ruled out of Dortmund´s Asia tour|
|Gerrard gets the beers in for LA Galaxy fans|
|De Gea coy over Real links|
|Former Brazil star Carlos handed Delhi reins|
|Ciftci will not push through Celtic switch – agent|
|In-demand Mitrovic considering Roma offer|
|Lehmann calls on Cech to ´get over´ Chelsea|
|Marlos double sinks Monaco|
|Mauritius 0 South Africa 2 (agg 0-5): Bafana set up Angola qualifier|
|Keane relishing Gerrard arrival|
|Palace confirm Cabaye interest|
|Hamburg bring in Spahic after head-butt ban|
|Blatter hits out at France and Germany over World Cup votes|
|Sanchez: World Cup exit spurred Chile to Copa glory|
|Jojic makes Cologne switch, Santana move falls through|
|Carrillo keen to get going at Monaco|
|Micronesia thrashed 38-0 as Fiji triumph in Olympic qualifier|
|Schalke stunned by ´machine´ Caicara|
|MLS Review: Keane shines at Gerrard´s Galaxy unveiling|
|Counter-attacking the key for Japan|
|Jimenez happy at Atletico|
|Gerrard predicts ´successful future´ with Galaxy|
|Iniesta can´t see Real selling Ramos|
|Keshi sacked as Nigeria coach|
|Three finals, three defeats for Messi, Mascherano|
|Nani close to Fenerbahce move|
|Sampaoli revels in ´unbelievable joy´|
|Bravo: Copa victory a dream|
|Martino: Argentina should have won|
|Chile 0 Argentina 0 (4-1 on penalties): Hosts end trophy drought|
|Germany 0 England 1 (after extra time): England make World Cup history|