And now the bad news. The three most over-paid men in the history of British football - Sven-Goran Eriksson, David Beckham and Michael Owen - will tonight become the axis around which the England team will revolve.
Owen seems set to return to the team for the World Cup qualifying match against Northern Ireland in Belfast after suspension, meaning that Eriksson will revert to 4-4-2 from 4-5-1, and Beckham will go back to the right of midfield.
It all seems so systematic, so cushy, for three men who have spent the past four years glowing in each other's splendour. But now, far from taking England back to the future, they seem to be taking the national team forward into the past.
Eriksson, the head coach, is lucky. He has the best collection of English players and the easiest World Cup qualifying group possible. And yet the march towards the finals has come in spite of him and not because of him. Robbie Fowler, the former England striker, is not the only man to say as much this month.
With a 4-5-1 formation, England stuttered towards a victory away to Wales and they will probably do likewise against a Northern Ireland team that has the ability to defend well but is unlikely to score. The tedium will be debilitating.
Still, Eriksson is talking a good game. "I know the best formation, maybe the best formation we played was the diamond, or 4-4-2, but to play the diamond you need three central midfielders to be fit," he said yesterday.
"Frank Lampard is not playing as well as he did last season. That is a little bit why we used the system [against Wales]. I will not gamble [with tactics]. Normally the players will know how to play, last week they knew it from Wednesday, this time they will know if from this afternoon."
Six points - three from Belfast tonight and three against Austria in Manchester next month - would virtually guarantee qualification for the finals but this has not been a comfortable ride. Worse England teams have performed better and emerged from tougher groups.
With too many individuals, not least Eriksson himself, doing their jobs on their reputations rather than their talents, there is a growing perception that England will again go down in glorious failure.
Behind Brazil and Argentina, they probably have the strongest squad in the world but that does not mean that England are the third-best team in the world. How can they be with such over-rated players as Beckham and Rio Ferdinand in the team? How can they be when they are building a team to suit Owen when Wayne Rooney is clearly the best England striker?
Beckham has no time for negative talk. He wants to end his career having appeared in the finals of four World Cup tournaments, which means that we could be stuck with him for five more years. "I have always said that I'd love to play not just in this World Cup but also the one in South Africa in 2010," Beckham said. "But maybe we will have to wait and see how my legs are."
Like Beckham, Owen played in his first World Cup in France in 1998 but has found it difficult to shake off suggestions that, at 25, he is already past his peak. He is no longer employed by Real Madrid but by Newcastle United, who bought him for the outrageous sum of £17 million. Real Madrid did not want Owen at all, Liverpool did not want him badly enough, but Eriksson cannot imagine an England team without him.
"If Michael Owen is 100 per cent fit, there is no doubt he will play," Eriksson said. "He has had only one match this season [for England against Denmark last month] but if he is fit he is very important for us, especially in big games.
"It is always a difficult decision to take players out, especially when we won the last game, but that is my job."
It is also Eriksson's job to know how Northern Ireland will play and he is expecting something bordering on the unsophisticated from the home team.
"I expect a lot of long balls to James Quinn," Eriksson said. "They have a very busy midfield so I expect a difficult game. When we're talking about Wales, about Northern Ireland, it's a dream for those countries to beat England and we have to deal with that."
England defeated Northern Ireland 4-0 in Manchester last March but the margin of victory was flattering.
"It's like a derby and, remember Wales, it wasn't easy," Eriksson said. "We had to work very hard. Northern Ireland are more or less the same as Wales - they put long balls into the box and you never know, one halfknock wrongly, and it could be a goal."
So it looks like Rooney and Owen up front, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in the centre of midfield, Beckham on the right, and probably Joe Cole on the left.
"I'm confident in my position in the team and my value to the team from recent and past performances," Owen said.
"I got a hat-trick against Colombia [in May] so I've no problems with my recent form or past form.
"I don't think I'd be especially thankful if the manager decided to play me. I don't think that I owe anyone any favours in that regard."
True. But he does owe us something to make us believe that he is in the starting lineup because he deserves to be, rather than because, like Beckham, he benefits from Eriksson's blind loyalty.