A first half penalty from Frank Lampard proved to be decisive at Old Trafford, with a 2-0 victory by Holland over the Czech Republic securing England's ticket for Germany as a best second place in the Euro-zone qualifying.
David Beckham was sent off for two bookable offences in the second half, which gave Ledley King the chance to once again demonstrate his international credentials following a re-shuffle on 61 minutes. The skipper replaced Joe Cole and operated in the centre of a three-man midfield with Lampard and Steven Gerrard on either side.
England are now a point behind Poland in Group Six and can win the group with victory over the Poles at Old Trafford on Wednesday
The Republic of Ireland kept their World Cup hopes alive with a 1-0 win over Cyprus. Robbie Keane held off the challenge of Lambros Lambrou before supplying Stephen Elliott who turned sharply to fire home from eight yards. The Republic now face a crunch clash against Switzerland on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, an Adrian Mutu penalty was enough for Romania to record a 1-0 win over Teemu Tainio's Finland in Group One.
Paul Robinson kept another clean sheet as England beat Austria 1-0 and later had qualification for the World Cup finals confirmed.