Sven-Goran Eriksson claimed England had reestablished its credentials as potential World Cup winners after a 2-1 win over Poland sent his side to Germany at the top of group six.
Frank Lampard's acrobatic late volley sealed the win after the Poles, with their only chance of the 90 minutes, had canceled out stand-in captain Michael Owen's 33rd international goal.
After the media pasting he had received in the wake of last month's defeat by Northern Ireland, Eriksson was delighted to see his players, inspired by Wayne Rooney's return to the fold, produce a high-tempo performance that, on another night, might have seen them run out far more comfortable winners.
"I always said we were going to qualify and that once we had qualified we are one of four or five teams that can win it, with a little bit of luck," Eriksson said.
And in a sideswipe at his enemies in the press, he added, "I think the fans can be convinced, what about you gentlemen?"
The Swede went on to argue that the reviews of Saturday's 1-0 win over Austria had been unjustifiably harsh.
"Today was was much better but you always have to remember how the opponent plays. Poland came here to try and play football and win the game - Austria came for a draw, defending with nine men," he pointed out."And of course it is easier to play when you know you are qualified. We have had a very good eight or nine days together and I think now we are back to where we were at the beginning of the season," the Swede added.
"We have managed to turn it around. We started the season so and so, but now we are there, we have won the group and if we keep this spirt and this quality, it is always difficult to beat us," he said.
"They had one chance to score and they scored. I don't know how many we had but it was a lot."
Poland are also bound for Germany as one of the best runners-up in the European zone groups, having won all their matches but for the two they played against England.
Their coach, Pawel Janas, admitted, "England were a goal better here and in Poland, so well done to them. If they win the group, it means they are the best team in the group. Results say a lot."