Oliver Kay in The Times: Roy Hodgson is not a man given to exuberance or impolite language, but at 9.33pm last night he could not contain himself. “You flipping beauty,” he exclaimed — or words to that effect — leaping up from his seat on the touchline after Andros Townsend, his wild-card pick, let fly from 25 yards and lessened, at least for another few days, that nagging sense of anxiety about England’s World Cup qualifying hopes. It was quite some goal from the young newcomer and quite some vindication of Hodgson’s boldest selection of a qualifying campaign that had hitherto been characterised by caution.
Barney Ronay in The Guardian: If it was heartening to see England play with such abandon in attack, it was hard to avoid the feeling it might have been helpful to test the waters on that a little earlier in the piece. Hodgson has been criticised by some for his reluctance to gamble, as he might have by seeking to win rather than not lose in Kiev. And yet kicking for home with two games left is an act of brinkmanship in its own right. England now have a play-off place in the bag but Tuesday could be a horribly fraught occasion.
Martin Lipton in the Daily Mirror: And so it comes down to the old, familiar equation. Poland. In the last game. Knowing what is required. But this time, unlike 1973, even unlike 1989 and 1991 when only a draw was required, against a side with nothing to play for. And after a night in which Roy Hodgson was rewarded for his faith in Andros Townsend, his trust in the trio he was denied in Ukraine, his belief in his entire side, England will know they have what it takes. The smell of the South Atlantic off the Copacabana is not quite in England's nostrils. Not yet. Now, though, it is close. Palpably, reach-out-and-touch close.
Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail: Well, what a lovely evening. We must do it again sometime. On Tuesday, in fact. Same place, same outcome. Only then can Roy Hodgson's World Cup mission be a qualified success. Beat Poland at Wembley in four days' time and England will have confirmed their berth in Brazil. Anything less and play-off drama awaits, at best. For now, though, savour the moment. Hodgson wished for a marquee result to change the perception of his England as lumpen and dour, and here it was. The home side well deserved their win and the margin, too.
Henry Winter in the Daily Telegraph: So it all comes down to Poland at Wembley again. So the memories flood back of 1973 and Jan Tomaszewski. England were frustrated then, failing to beat Poland and missing out on the World Cup in West Germany. But if England play with the intelligence of Wayne Rooney and exuberance of Andros Townsend that accounted for Montenegro last night, Roy Hodgson’s side will qualify for Brazil.
Sam Wallace in The Independent: When the big games come around, the high-tension occasions when it must all come together every manager stands and falls by his decisions. By those exacting standards, last night was a good night for Roy Hodgson. The man who has long been characterised as the arch-conservative, let Andros Townsend loose on Wembley and was rewarded with a match-winning performance from Tottenham’s 22-year-old winger. It might not have been much of a risk against a depleted Montenegro team playing at Wembley, but it was a game-defining call and he got it right when the stakes for World Cup qualification were very high indeed.
Jeremy Cross in the Daily Star: England manager Roy Hodgson is full of surprises. That’s not a phrase I ever expected to write about him. But for just one night – and probably one night only – Hodgson actually fitted the description, as he pulled out all the stops in pursuit of World Cup qualification. Everyone has a wild side, they reckon, and Hodgson showed his at Wembley with a team selection more akin to Kevin Keegan than the current Three Lions boss.