THE new era of Glenn Hoddle's stewardship of English football has begun, at home as well as away, with full points towards World Cup qualification. But the scoreline - England 2 Poland 1 - does not lie; it shows how very close Poland came to ruining this homecoming in front of 74,663 spectators. Hoddle, attempting to build refinement in the national side, now knows what it is to sweat and to be grateful for two lusty blows, one with the head, the other with the right foot, from Alan Shearer. For England had to win while being taught some of the finer arts of the game. The attempt to revive the summer's euphoria in autumn preceded the match for a full hour. In their tens of thousands, the English fans, each one, it seemed, coming to Wembley full of voice and with the flags of St George, were orchestrated towards fever pitch. In the corner of one stand, the minority audience of Poles defiantly lit their red flares and waited for the action down on the greensward. They knew something. Had they listened to Antoni Piechniczek, the Poland national coach, on the eve of the match, they would have believed that the side was here to defend in depth. But sometimes this is a players' sport. In his excellent English, Piotr Nowak, the team's playmaker and captain, had begged to differ. 'England are very strong in offence,' he reasoned. 'We must play our football, not defending.' Poland put words into practice as early as the seventh minute, when they scored, overpowering the flimsy three-man defence selected by Hoddle. He had trusted Southgate between two full-backs, Gary Neville and Pearce. They became outnumbered when Hajto and Baluszynski appeared like two red pimpernels on the right. How slick was their exchange of passes, how telling the cross-ball from Baluszynski. And how untutored Southgate and Neville appeared. Distracted by the run and flick of Warzycha, they lunged for the ball and missed, and, coming in from the left, Citko was to capitalise with his first international goal. He needed one touch to control the ball, a second that dispatched it from left to right, low beneath Seaman's dive. For long spells Nowak now seemed to control the tempo of the match, but there was a passion building among the England players, a strength and a potency . . . and it was to overwhelm a Poland team with the audacity to tear up the script. Shearer, captaining England at Wembley for the first time, was so hungry. Gascoigne, working hard but not yet the equal of Nowak, was brought down injudiciously by the sweeper, Zielinski. There was no card, but reward came swiftly. When the free-kick was only half-cleared, Beckham demonstrated how sweet his delivery can be. He chipped the ball in, with vision and expectation, and Shearer, too brave and strong for Wojtala and the goalkeeper, Wozniak, rose to score with a powerful header. It was Shearer's seventh goal in seven England games and, in the 37th minute, he made it eight. Little had been seen of the understanding between Shearer and Les Ferdinand. But now, at last, they found a common wavelength, twice exchanging passes before Shearer's first attempt at goal, which was luckily deflected towards Ferdinand. The big man, though crouching awkwardly, used his renowned body strength. He controlled the ball off chest and thigh, nudging it back into the path of Shearer. Shearer produced an explosive shot from 20 yards that baffled and beat Wozniak. It was greedy, for David Beckham was screaming for the ball in a goalscoring position; but how England praised their captain's greed. TEAMS ENGLAND: D Seaman; G Neville, G Southgate (sub: G Pallister, 51 min), S Pearce; D Beckham, P Ince, P Gascoigne, A Hinchcliffe; S McManaman; A Shearer, L Ferdinand. POLAND: A Wozniak; T Waldoch, J Zielinski, M Jozwiak; T Hajto, R Michalski, H Baluszynski, P Wojtala, P Nowak; M Citko, K Warzycha.