The Derby County midfielder capped a fine individual and team performance with the winning goal in Vinkovci to help England to a 2-1 win.
Croatia 1-2 England
(England win 4-2 on aggregate)
European U21s Championship
Stadion HNK Cibalia, Vinkovci
Tuesday 14 October 2014
That made it 4-2 on aggregate after Friday’s first-leg victory, but with the pressure on in Croatia, England came out playing and sealed a deserved spot in Czech Republic.
“We showed our quality and how we can play,” Hughes told TheFA.com.
Will Hughes speaks to FATV after the match
“A lot of people have a perception that England can’t play football but I think we’ve come here and shown that we can, especially in the second half.
“Luckily we got the first goal, which controlled it a bit for us, but unfortunately they hit back and we knew it was going to be a nervy second half.
“But once we got that second goal, they had to score three and we controlled it from then on.”
And despite the elation of scoring his second goal for the Under-21s in such an important game, Hughes admits it was more about the collective display for him.
“It feels brilliant [to have scored], but it was a great team effort,” he added.
“We really dug in and knew it would be hard coming out here when there was only one goal in it.
“We got told at half-time that we needed to press higher up and keep hold – and it showed quite a lot of balls from the team to do that when it was so close.
"But we showed our quality in the end.”
Watch a full interview with Will on TheFA.com on Wednesday morning.