England need just one point to be certain of qualification to the 2022 World Cup.
England’s lead at the top of Group I was cut to three points last month when they were held to a 1-1 draw with Hungary at Wembley, while Poland beat Albania 1-0 to move into second place and turn up the heat.
But Gareth Southgate’s side roared back with a 5-0 thrashing of Albania to finally close in on an automatic place at next year’s finals.
Highlights of the World Cup European qualifying group I match between England and Albania
England would have qualified with a game to spare had Poland slipped up against Andorra but Robert Lewandowski scored twice in a 4-1 win.
The Wembley mauling, however, means England only need to avoid defeat in San Marino – the world’s worst side – on Monday to win the group and reach Qatar.
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Poland will have to settle for the play-offs – and reaching Qatar with a second-placed finish is not straightforward.
The 10 runners-up from the group stage will join two group winners from last season’s Nations League in a mini-tournament in March that will see only three more teams qualify.
When and where is the 2022 World Cup?
The 2022 World Cup is taking place in Qatar in the winter months rather than the usual summer ones, due to the heat.
The tournament kicks off on Monday November 21 at the Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor with a match that will feature the host country.
The final will be played at the Lusail Stadium in Doha a week before Christmas on Sunday December 18.
Highlights of the World Cup qualifier between Andorra and England
What is the World Cup format and schedule?
The tournament will feature 32 teams in eight groups of four.
Four matches will be played each day during the group stage, which will run over a 12-day period and see winners and runners-up progress to the round of 16.
Matches will only be assigned to particular venues after the finals draw, so organisers can choose optimal kick-off times to suit television audiences in different countries, as well as supporters out in Qatar.
The finals draw is scheduled to take place in April 2022, after the March window for international fixtures.
Unlike at Euro 2020, there will be a third-place play-off game on December 17.
Group stage: November 21- December 2
Round of 16: December 3-6
Quarter-finals: December 9/10
Semi-finals: December 13/14
Final: December 18
Highlights of the World Cup qualifying group I match between England and Andorra
What happens to the Premier League in 2022/23?
The Premier League has confirmed key dates for the 2022/23 campaign, with the season adjusted to accommodate a World Cup that takes place in the middle of the domestic calendar.
The season will start a week earlier than normal on August 6 2022, with 16 matchdays taking place up to the weekend of November 12/13, before the tournament kicks off on November 21.
The Premier League will resume on Boxing Day following the World Cup final, which takes place on December 18.
The final match round of the 2022/23 season will be played on May 28 2023.
How to follow England’s World Cup Qualifiers
Follow San Marino vs England on Monday (kick-off 7.45pm) with our live blog, and watch free match highlights on the Sky Sports website and app, as well as the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel.
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