World Cup Qualifying Round-Up


World champions Spain, England and Russia booked their place at Brazil 2014 – as did Bosnia-Herzegovina, for the first time.

In CAF qualification, Ghana took a huge step towards reaching their third straight World Cup by hammering Egypt 6-1 in the first leg of their play-off.

UEFA

European qualifiers: Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Russia, Bosnia, England, Spain

European play-offs: Croatia, Sweden, Romania, Iceland, Portugal, Greece, Ukraine, France. Two-legged seeded play-offs to take place on 15 and 19 November.

Group A
The group was already decided ahead of Wednesday’s matches, and despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Wales, Belgium topped the log.
Croatia, already assured of second place, were beaten 2-0 by Scotland, a result that prompted their coach Igor Stimac to offer his resignation.
Losing out are Serbia, Scotland, Wales and Macedonia.

Group B
Italy had already won the group going into Wednesday’s final group match against Armenia in Naples, and their 2-2 draw ensured they ended their World Cup qualifying campaign unbeaten.
They had to come back from behind twice, but goals from Alessandro Florenzi and Mario Balotelli earned them the point.
Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark and Armenia were all in contention to finish second.
The Czech Republic beat Bulgaria 1-0 at home, while Denmark thrashed Malta 6-0 to overtake them and finish second. The Danes did not finish well enough to make the play-offs, however.
Losing out are Denmark, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Armenia and Malta.

Group C
Germany were assured of top spot, while Sweden were already assured of second place, but that did not
prevent the two teams from playing to an eight-goal thriller – for the second time in a year, after a 4-4 draw in Berlin last October.
The Germans fought back from 2-0 down, with Chelsea forward Andre Schurrle scoring a 20-minute hat-trick in the second half.
Austria, Republic of Ireland, Kazakhstan and Faroe Islands lost out.

Group D
The Netherlands ended their qualifying campaign very comfortably, with nine wins and a draw from 10 games lifting them to nine points clear at the top.
Ciprian Marica scored a brace as Romania beat Estonia 2-0 to earn a play-off spot ahead of Turkey.
Ahead of Wednesday’s matches Turkey were second on the log, ahead of Romania on goal difference, but were beaten 2-0 at home by the Dutch to end their 2014 World Cup hopes.
Losing out are Hungary, Turkey, Estonia and Andorra.

Group E
Iceland, who have never reached the World Cup, are through to the play-offs thanks to Switzerland, who beat Slovenia 1-0 with a goal from Granit Xhaka 15 minutes from time.
Switzerland had already earned top spot ahead of their last match.
Iceland only needed to match Slovenia’s result – against Norway in Oslo – to finish runners-up, and ended up earning a 1-1 draw.
Losing out are Slovenia, Norway, Albania and Cyprus.

Group F
Portugal will have to fight it out in the play-offs after Russia’s 1-1 draw with Azerbaijan.
Fabio Capello’s Russia were assured of top spot with a point, meaning Azerbaijan’s last minute equaliser was immaterial.
Portugal beat Luxembourg 3-0, without Cristiano Ronaldo, who was suspended.
Losing out are Israel, Azerbaijan, Northern Island and Luxembourg.

Group G
Bosnia-Herzegovina beat Lithuania to top the group ahead of Greece on goal difference and qualify for their first World Cup as an independent nation.
Ibisevic got the goal in the 68th minutes, off a pass from Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko.
The result cued wild celebrations from the travelling fans, and the team flew home immediately after the match on a special flight to celebrate.
Bosnia came close to both the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, both times losing out to Portugal in the play-offs.
Greece beat Liechtenstein 1-0 to make the play-offs.
Losing out are Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia and Liechtenstein

Group H
England beat Poland 2-0 at Wembley, with goals from Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard, to book their spot in Brazil.
Ukraine needed England to slip up to avoid the play-offs and cruised to a 8-0 win over bottom-of-the-log San Marino.
They have lost out on a World Cup place through the play-offs on three previous attempts.
Montenegro, Poland, Moldova and San Marino lose out.

Group I
Spain earned a comfortable 2-0 win over Georgia to top the group, with goals from Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo and Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata, who scored seconds after coming off the bench.
The world champions only needed to avoid a loss to top the group.
France beat Finland 3-0 to make the play-offs.
Finland, Georgia and Belarus lose out.

The draw for the play-offs will be held in Zurich on October 21, and the matches will be played on November 15 and 19.
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CONCACAF

Honduras clinched the last of the automatic qualifying spots in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Needing only a point, the Hondurans made sure of their place by drawing 2-2 with Jamaica in Kingston, joining the USA and Costa Rica as the three automatic qualifiers from the region.
Mexico claimed the play-off spot despite a 2-1 loss to Costa Rica, while Panama suffered a heartbreaking loss to the United States, conceding two goals in stoppage time to lose 3-2.

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CONMEBOL

Chile beat Ecuador 2-1 as both countries qualified for Brazil, finishing third and fourth, respectively, in the South American qualifying group.
Argentina and Colombia had already qualified as the top two teams.
Uruguay beat Argentina 3-2, but finished fifth and go into a two-match play-off against Jordan.