England, which hasn't missed a World Cup since 1994, could still be joined in Russian Federation next year by neighbor Scotland.
Little wonder then if Gordon should regard Thursday night at Hampden as one of the finest moments of an worldwide career which begun way back in April 2004 with a 4-1 win against Trinidad and Tobago at Easter Road.
The Tartan Army need a win against Slovenia in Ljubjana on Sunday to secure themselves a place in next month's playoffs.
Martin Skrtel's 89th-minute own goal gave Scotland a 1-0 victory over Slovakia, which was reduced to 10 men from the 23rd minute when Robert Mak was shown a second yellow card for diving. "We said at half-time they might tire towards the end after playing for so long with ten men".More news: England fans 'should be proud' of team qualifying for 2018 World Cup
Juraj Kucka went close for the Slovaks early on before the hosts had a penalty claim refused, Mak appearing to body-check Kieran Tierney, but Serb referee Milorad Mazic waved away their appeals.
Ten minutes later Hampden witnessed the best of Slovak goalie Martin Dubravka to keep the score at 0-0.
Scotland tightened their grip but Slovak keeper Martin Dubravka pulled off a terrific save from Christophe Berra's header.
But Gordon Strachan's side refused to lie down and got the victor with two minutes left on the clock.
"It is a kind of similar pressure to the Slovakia game". Forrest drove forward and found Griffiths, the Celtic striker stepped inside centre-back Jan Durica onto his left foot and forced Dubravka to dive low and push clear his curling strike.More news: Gerard Pique jeered by Spain supporters after Catalonia independence referendum
"It was imperative. They have to go to a World Cup".
"There was no doubt about the man of the match and it was their goalkeeper who was magnificent - and the crossbar was good as well!" In the last five matches, Scotland has won three matches and two matches ended in a draw whereas Slovakia has won three matches and lost two matches.
"Luckily, Kech (Ikechi Anya) has put in a great ball to the front post and Skrtel has ended up putting it in".
Subs: Vladimir Weiss for Adam Nemec 78, Ondrej Duda for Marek Hamsik 79 and Norbert Gyomber for Juraj Kucka 79.More news: GoFundMe for victims, families of Las Vegas shooting tops $2M