Four spots were up for grabs on Tuesday night from Europe to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, and three of them were taken by big countries that go by the name of England, Spain and Russia.
Spain players Alvaro Negredo and Juan Mata celebrate after scoring against Georgia in their World Cup qualifier, October 15
However, as the likes of France, Greece and Portugal were consigned to find their path courtesy the playoffs to Brazil, a tiny country, that only came into existence recently, booked their place in the World Cup.
Fans in Bosnia, which only declared independence in 1992, were sent into raptures after their side defeated Lithuania 1-0 to finish atop Group G, and send Greece into the playoffs. Bosnia and Greece both finished on 25 points, but the former go through due to a superior goal difference - Greece's penchant for playing defensive football, coming back to haunt them.
Russia and Spain needed at least a draw to qualify from their respective groups, and one of them managed just about that, while the other picked up their sixth win in eight games to remain unbeaten throughout the entire campaign.
Spain, the defending world and European champions, got the better of Georgia 2-0, thanks to goals from English Premier League pair Alvaro Negredo and Juan Mata in Albacete.
Negredo opened the scoring courtesy a pass from home town boy Andres Iniesta, before Mata pounced on a loose ball just past the hour mark to make the game safe.
"To seal qualification here, what better place could there be," Iniesta said in a pitchside interview with Spanish television broadcaster Telecinco. "Playing here on my home patch they treat me with a special affection. It was a nice day and a nice match to get to Brazil and I am just really happy."
The win for Spain means France are forced to make the 2014 World Cup via the playoffs, despite easing past Finland 3-0. Franck Ribery was the star man in Paris, with the winger scoring one and setting up another. Ribery opened the scoring in the 8th minute, with Joona Toivio firing into his own net late in the game to make it 2-0.
Benzema, off a set-up from Ribery, then made it 3-0 in the 86th minute, with the victory scant consolation, with Les Blues likely to be unseeded for the payoffs owing to their inferior FIFA world ranking.
Denmark were unlucky not to make the two-legged ties, despite finishing second in their group as they were not among the eight best runners-up of the nine groups.
As long as it stayed 1-0, Ukraine, who thumped San Marino 8-0 in their final game, could still harbour hopes of Poland pulling one back, but skipper Steven Gerrard came to the fore for the home side in the 88th minute, to save Roy Hodgson another couple of extremely nervy minutes.
Russia drew 1-1 with Azerbaijan, making Cristiano Ronaldo-less Portugal's 3-0 victory over Luxembourg, achieved through goals from Silvestre Varela, Nani and Helder Postiga, pointless.
Netherlands dashed Turkey's hopes of finishing behind them in Group D courtesy a 2-0 win, with veterans Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder getting the goals. The win for Holland allowed Romania to sneak through and take second place courtesy their 2-0 win over Estonia.
Five teams, including the Netherlands, had already sealed their place in the World Cup finals, before four more were added on Tuesday night, with the most entertaining game being Germany and Sweden.
Germany, who has Bastian Schweinsteiger making his 100th appearance, came back from two goals down to top Sweden, who had already booked their playoff place, 5-3, with Chelsea forward Andre Schurrle grabbing himself a hat-trick. Birthday-boy Mesut Ozil and Mario Gotze scored the other two goals, after a brace from Tobias Hysen and Alexander Kacaniklic had seemingly put Sweden on their way to an impressive victory.
Belgium and Italy ended their qualifying campaigns with draws, while Croatia crashed to a 2-0 defeat to Scotland.
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