A night for drama and some history, as England had a rough time beating Poland 2-0 but that was still enough to finish first above Ukraine. Bosnia make it into the World Cup for the first time in history after a narrow win over Lithuania, while Iceland managed to finish second after a draw against Norway, putting themselves in the playoffs, with a chance to also make their first ever major tournament appearance.
The tragic sides of the evening both came from the same group, as Bulgaria lost to the Czech Republic at home and were knocked out of second place, but the team that replaced them, Denmark, are the worst of the second-place teams and won’t make it into the World Cup through the playoffs. Turkey lost at home to the Netherlands, knocking them out of the second place, giving Romania the opening to make it into the playoffs.
|Grp||Team (Sep 2013 FIFA Ranking)||Pld||W||D||L||GF||GA||GD||Pts||Notes||Sixth-placed team|
|H||Ukraine (26)||8||4||3||1||11||4||+7||15||San Marino|
|C||Sweden (22)||8||4||2||2||15||13||+2||14||Faroe Islands|
Group A – A group with nothing to play for, as Belgium finished first and Croatia second. Serbia beat Macedonia 5-1, with goals from Dusan Basta, Aleksandar Kolarov, Dusan Tadic, Stefan Scepovic and an own goal. Belgium finish their qualifying campaign with after a 1-1 draw with Wales while Aaron Ramsey equalized, getting a goal from Kevin de Bruyne, while Croatia, going to the playoffs, lost to Scotland 2-0, conceding from Robert Snodgrass and Steven Naismith.
Group B – Italy, who finished first in the group, didn’t have anything to play for on the final day, drawing at home 2-2 with Armenia. Alessandro Florenzi and Mario Balotelli scored for the Italians, Yura Movsisyan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored for Armenia, who finish in fifth place. Denmark finish second after a 6-0 win over Malta (Morten Duncan Rasmuss twice, Daniel Agger twice, Andreas Bjelland and Nicki Bille Nielsen), but they won’t be in the playoffs, last of the second-place teams. Bulgaria lost at home 1-0 to Czech Republic (Borek Dockal), missing out.
Group C – There was nothing to play for in this group. Germany, who finish first, beat Sweden 5-3. Mesut Ozil, Mario Gotze and a Andre Shcurrle hat trick scored for Germany, Tobias Hysén with a brace and Alex Kacaniklic scored for Sweden, finishing second. Ireland beat Kazakhstan 3-1 (Robbie Keane, John O’Shea and an own goal; Dmitri Shomko for the visitors), Austria beat the Faroe Islands 3-0, with goals from Andreas Ivanschitz, Sebastian Prodl and David Alaba.
|Republic of Ireland||9||3||2||4||13||16||−3||11|
Group D – The Netherlands remained undefeated in their qualifying group, beating Turkey 2-0 in Istanbul with goals from Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder. Romania took over second place thanks to a 2-0 win over Estonia, with a couple of goals from Ciprian Marica. Hungary beat Andorra 2-0 (Nemanja Nikolic with a brace) in a match that didn’t matter.
Group E – Switzerland did Iceland a big favor with a 1-0 win over Slovenia, getting a goal from Granit Xhaka. Iceland drew 1-1 in Norway (Kolbeinn Sigthorsson scored for the visitors, Daniel Braaten for Norway) which put them in second place. Cyprus and Albania finished their match in a 0-0 draw.
Group F – Nothing really changed, as Portugal did beat Luxembourg 3-0, but it didn’t help them get out of the playoffs. Silvestre Varela, Nani and Helder Postiga scored for the winners, who finished second and will play in the playoffs in order to qualify to the World Cup. Russia ended their visit in Azerbaijan with a 1-1 draw, as Javadov scored a 90th minute equalizer for the home side after Roman Shirokov opened the scoring. Northern Ireland drew 1-1 with Israel in Ramat Gan; Eden Ben Basat scored for the Israelis, Steven Davis equalized.
Group G – Bosnia make history with a 1-0 win over Lithuania, getting a 68th minute goal from Vedad Ibisevic, meaning they’ll be in the World Cup for the first time in history. Greece beat Liechtenstein 2-0 (Dimitrios Salpingidis, Georgios Karagounis) but will be seeded in the playoffs. Latvia and Slovakia ended their meaningless match in a 2-2 draw (Valerijs Sabala, Renard Rode scored for Latvia; Martin Jakubko, Kornel Salata scored for Slovakia).
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||10||8||1||1||30||6||+24||25|
Group H – England didn’t flinch in the final two matches and got the win it needed, beating Poland 2-0 with goals from Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard, making it to the World Cup. Ukraine beat San Marino 8-0 with goals from Yevhen Seleznyov (twice), Marko Devic (hat trick), Andriy Yarmolenko, Roman Bezus and Vitaliy Mandzyuk, but they’ll be in the playoffs. Montenegro lost to Moldova 2-5 at home. Alexandru Antoniuc with a brace, Igor Armas, Eugen Sidorenco and Artur Ionita scored for the visitors; Milan Jovanovic and Stevan Jovetic scored for the home side.
Group I – Nothing changes, with Spain beating Belarus 2-0 (getting goals from Alvaro Negredo and Juan Mata) to finish first in the group and make it in the World Cup, while France, beating Finland 3-0 (Franck Ribéry, Karim Benzema and an own goal) finish second, going to the playoffs.