With only one match left in the European qualifiers, Belgium, Switzerland and Germany clinched their place in the world cup with wins over Croatia, Albania and Ireland. England took a huge step towards securing their spot in Brazil with a big win at Wembley over Montenegro, needing one more win to finish the job and finish first in the qualifying group. In the biggest surprise of the evening, Israel drew 1-1 with Portugal in Lisbon, although it won’t change the status of the top two in group F.
Netherlands got to stamp the most impressive result of the night, beating Hungary 8-1, which means Hungary are out of the world cup picture, even though it didn’t mean anything to the Dutch.
Belgium clinched the top spot in the group, making it to the World Cup with a big 2-1 win over Croatia in Zagreb, getting an impressive and powerful brace from Romelu Lukaku, while Niko Kranjcar scored a late goal that didn’t help the hosts. In Wales, the home side beat Macedonia 1-0 through a Simon Church goal.
A huge win for Armenia, taking advantage of Bulgaria remaining with nine men, getting goals from Aras Özbiliz at the end of the first half and a late winner from Yura Movsisyan. Yvelin Popov scored an equalizer that last 26 minutes for the visitors. In Copenhagen, Denmark drew 2-2 with Italy, getting a surprising brace from Nickland Bendtner. Alberto Aquliani scored the equalizer in the 90th minute, and Pablo Osvaldo scored the opener for the Italians. The Czech Republic comfortably won at Malta (4-1), getting goals from Tomas Hübschman, David Lafata, Michal Kadlec and Tomas Pekhart.
Germany clinched their place in the World Cup with a harder-than-it-looked 3-0 win over Ireland, getting a first half goal from Sami Khedira, while Andre Schurrle and and Mesut Ozil added in the second half. Sweden also took a huge step towards making the playoffs at least, beating Austria 2-1, coming back from an early Martin Harnik goals through Martin Olsson and the 86th minute winner from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
|Republic of Ireland||9||3||2||4||13||15||−2||11|
The Netherlands, with nothing to play for, humiliated Hungary 8-1 in Amsterdam, enjoying the scoring services of Robin van Persie (3), Kevin Strootman, Jeremain Lens, Nigel de Jong, Rafael van der Vaart, Arjen Robben and an own goal from Szllard Devecseri. Turkey enjoyed a big win over Estonia 2-0 through Umut Bulut and Burak Yilmaz, while Romania easily beat Andorra 4-0, getting goals from Claudiu Keseru, Bogdan Stancu, Gabriel Torje and Costin Lazar.
Switzerland clinch their place in the World Cup, winning in Albania with goals from Xherdan Shaqiri and Michael Lang, with Hamdi Salihi scoring a late goal that meant nothing. Slovenia beat Norway 3-0 to throw them out of the race for the World Cup, as Milivoje Novakovic scored a hat trick. Iceland beat Cyprus 2-0 (Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, Gylfi Sigurdsson) to remain in the second spot.
Russia had no problem beating Luxembourg 4-0 with goals from Aleksandr Samedov, Victor Fayzulin, Denis Glushakov and Alexandr Kerzhakov. Portugal messed up big time at home against Israel with only a 1-1 draw, keeping them in second place. Ricardo Costa scored for Portugal, Eden Ben Basat equalized for Israel.
Bosnia and Greece kept their top two places, with Bosnia on top thanks to the goal difference. The Bosnian team beat Liechtenstein 4-1, with goals from Edin Dzeko (twice), Zvjezdan Misimovic and Vedad Ibisevic. Greece had a hard time against Slovakia, winning 1-0 with Martin Skrtel scoring an own goal.
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||9||7||1||1||29||6||+23||22|
England are almost through to the World Cup with a big 4-1 win at home over the very tough Montenegro, getting goals from Wayne Rooney, Andros Townsend, Daniel Sturridge and an own goal from Branko Boskovic. Ukraine moved to second place and now need to hope for an England slip up, beating Poland 1-0 with a goal from Andriy Yarmolenko.
Spain pretty much clinched their spot in the next World Cup with a 2-1 win over Belarus, enjoying second half goals from Xavi and Alvaro Negredo, while Sergei Kornilenko’s goal didn’t help the visitors.