Steven Gerrard described his emotions as 'special' after the Liverpool captain scored a late goal which finally booked England's berth at next summer's World Cup in Brazil.

With Wayne Rooney having given the Three Lions a 1-0 lead over Poland at Wembley, Gerrard bulldozed through the opposition defence with two minutes left on the clock and calmly lifted a finish over the goalkeeper.

The victory ensured that Roy Hodgson's team claimed top spot in Group H of qualifying, with an unbeaten record too, and the Reds midfielder was elated to have achieved his ambition.

"I'm feeling really high at the moment. I said yesterday that it would be a very proud feeling if we could achieve qualification," he said post-match.

"To lead the team to Rio is a special feeling and you could see from my reaction after the second goal, when we knew it was in the bag, how happy I was.

"I got a little bit of a lucky break but I gave it everything I've got. I was tired, I didn't have much left in the locker but it was one final push.

"It was a great team performance tonight all round; Wayne and I got the goals but it was a great effort from the squad.

"Everyone has played their part. This team has been through it all, we have had a bit of criticism, we have had highs and lows. But we have shown that we'll never give up and we'll keep fighting.

"There is big confidence and belief within the group, but we still need to carry on improving. We need to stay humble and grounded, and keep trying to make huge strides forward.

"There's a great blend of youth and experience in this squad now and hopefully we can surprise a few people moving forward.

"Everyone is pulling in the right direction for the team. People don't understand how much pressure we've been under in the last eight or nine days: must-win games, big games in front of your own crowd, everyone expecting.

"It has been tough, it has been a long eight or nine days, but we've pulled through and it's all because we've got a wonderful team spirit."