England last failed to qualify for a major tournament in 2008 when it missed out on the European Championship finals following a 3-2 home defeat by Croatia.
That defeat signaled the end of Steve McClaren's reign as national manager and left a deep and painful mark which resurfaced when England was humiliated 4-1 at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa by Germany.
Should England fail to defeat Poland and Ukraine triumph over San Marino then Hodgson's side will face the lottery of the playoffs.
But with the Poles having failed to claim a competitive victory over England in 40 years, Hodgson is in confident mood.
"History's important when it comes to not making political mistakes but I don't think it has any relevance in sport whatsoever," added Hodgson.
"Every game's a new game and each Poland team that's played England has been a very different team so, as far as we're concerned, we'll do our job against the Poland we will face."
It is not just England which needs to gain a result to qualify -- defending champion Spain requires a draw from its final game to book its place in Brazil.
Spain faces Georgia knowing that should it slip up then France can steal top spot.
But the chance of that happening is remote according to captain Hugo Lloris.
"Spain did the job on Friday (by beating Belarus 2-1) and we don't expect them to fail tomorrow," he told a news conference at the Stade de France ahead the game with Finland.
"Yes, we already have the playoffs next month in mind."
France could meet Portugal in the playoffs unless Cristiano Ronaldo's side pull off a huge victory over Luxembourg and Group F leaders Russia lose in Azerbaijan.
"France are the strongest we may face," Ronaldo told reporters after being asked about the prospect of the playoffs.
"They are the only ones I do not want to face."
In Group G, Bosnia can book its place at the World Cup for the very first time with victory in Lithuania.
Bosnia sits top of the group alongside Greece with 22 points, but enjoys a superior goal difference.
Greece faces bottom side Liechtenstein in its final game but Bosnia manager Safet Susic, a former international striker who played for Yugoslavia in the 1982 and 1990 tournaments, is confident of success.
"We are awaiting the game with impatience," he told reporters at Sarajevo airport. "The most important thing is that nobody is suspended or injured and we have had a good rest after beating Liechtenstein. I am optimistic."
Iceland is preparing itself for "the most important game we have ever played" according to captain Aron Gunnarsson.
The nation has never competed at a World Cup but can clinch a playoff spot with victory in Norway.
A draw or defeat would be good enough as long as Slovenia do not better their result when they face group winners Switzerland.
"We are young and do not scare easily," Cardiff City midfielder Gunnarsson told the UEFA website.