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England tops Poland to reach World Cup

London, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard scored a goal apiece at Wembley on Tuesday to send England through to the World Cup with a 2-0 defeat of Poland.

The win sees Roy Hodgson's side finish atop Group H with 22 points, staying one point clear of Ukraine following its 8-0 demolition of San Marino on Tuesday.

England came out flying but only managed to break the scoreless deadlock in the 41st minute when Leighton Baines' cross was met by a glancing header from Rooney, who guided the delivery into the bottom corner of the net.

Poland provided a handful of scary moments for the English defense and threatened to equalize on multiple occasions, but the dagger for the home nation came two minutes from time when Gerrard's wonderful solo effort was capped with a gentle toe-poke past the on-rushing Wojciech Szczesny.

Ukraine's comfortable win over San Marino means that Mykhaylo Fomenko's side will need to emerge victorious from its two-legged play-off in order to qualify for Brazil next summer. Moldova, meanwhile, close out its final Group H match with a 5-2 win over Montenegro.

In Group A, first-place Belgium concluded its qualifying effort with a 1-1 draw with Wales. Croatia, which will advance to the play-off by virtue of clinching second place in the group, was upset in a 2-0 loss to Scotland while Serbia finished the phase in style with a 5-1 defeat of lowly Macedonia.

In Group B, Denmark claimed second place with a smash-and-grab job as its 6-0 thrashing of Malta, paired with the Czech Republic's narrow 1-0 win over Bulgaria, helped Morten Olsen's side slide into the play-off. Italy closed out its qualifying slate with a 2-2 draw against Armenia.

In Group C, Andre Schurrle claimed a hat trick in Germany's thrilling 5-3 victory over Sweden, Ireland wrapped up its qualifying campaign with an encouraging 3-1 defeat of Kazakhstan and Austria cruised to a 3-0 win over the Faroe Islands.

In Group D, Ciprian Marica helped Romania steal second place as his brace gave the nation a 2-0 win over Estonia. Turkey, which came into the final matchday in second place, suffered a 2-0 loss to the Netherlands while Hungary closed out the group with a 2-0 win over Andorra.

In Group E, Iceland secured second place and a chance to go to the World Cup thanks to a 1-1 draw at Norway and Switzerland's 1-0 defeat of Slovenia. Cyprus, meanwhile, closed out its qualifying campaign with a 0-0 draw against Albania.

In Group F, Russia clinched top spot and a place in the World Cup thanks to a 1-1 draw with Azerbaijan while Portugal was made to settle for second place despite a 3-0 defeat of Luxembourg. Israel and Northern Ireland played to a 1-1 draw in a match with no implications.

In Group G, Bosnia-Herzegovina secured a spot in the World Cup for the first time since gaining independence in 1992 as Vedad Ibisevic's goal in the 68th minute was enough to grant the side first place in the group with a 1-0 defeat of Lithuania. Greece earned a 2-0 victory over Liechtenstein to remain even with the Bosnians on points and clinch second place in the group while Latvia and Slovakia played to a 2-2 draw.

And in Group I, Spain confirmed its ticket to Brazil by finishing atop the group with a 2-0 defeat of Georgia. That means France will have to qualify through its play-off tie despite its comfortable 3-0 victory over Finland on Tuesday.