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IT WAS THE final night of football qualifiers in Europe ahead of next summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

There were four automatic places up for grabs along with seven play-off places to be decided. And we followed all the action.

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Group A: Belgium top the group, Croatia are 2nd.

Group B: Italy top the group, Denmark finish 2nd.

Group C: Germany top the group, Sweden are 2nd.

Group D: Netherlands finish top with Romania in second place.

Group E: Switzerland are top with Iceland behind them in the runner-up position.

Group F: Russia finish top, Portugal are 2nd.

Group G: Bosnia finish top with Greece 2nd.

Group H: England top the group with Ukraine in 2nd spot.

Group I: Spain finish top, France are 2nd.

All of tonight’s results are available here

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Welcome along football fans. Ireland might not be bound for Brazil but they are facing Kazakhstan tonight in their final World Cup qualifier. Ben Blake is at the Aviva Stadium to keep an eye on all the action.

While we’re keeping an eye on everything that is happening around Europe on the last night of qualifying for World Cup 2014.

The action is already underway tonight and it’s half-time in games in Group F and Group G.

Group F

Portugal 2-0 Luxembourg

Azerbaijan 0-1 Russia

Israel 1-0 Northern Ireland

Group G

Greece 1-0 Liechtenstein

Lithuania 0-0 Bosnia-Herzegovina

Those latest scores mean Russia are on course to top Group F and qualify for next summer’s Brazilian bonanza of football while Portugal will be bound for the playoffs.

While in Group G Greece are at the moment in line to leapfrog Bosnia-Herzegovina and qualify automatically. One goal for the Bosnians away to Lithuania will change all that though.

Russia lead 1-0 against Azerbaijan thanks to a 16th minute strike from Shirokov while Portugal are ahead against Luxembourg after goals from Varela and Nani.

Here’s that strike from the Manchester United winger after a brilliant team move by the Portuguese.

YouTube: ReplayGoalHD

Also in Group F, Israel are ahead against Northern Ireland after a 43rd minute goal from Ben Basat.

Greece’s goal against Liechtenstein arrived courtesy of Salpingidis in the 7th minute.

A number of games have kicked off at 7pm in Groups D and E tonight.

GOAL! - And the Netherlands have hit the front in Group D away to Turkey thanks to Arjen Robben being on the mark in the 8th minute. The Netherlands have already qualified for Brazil next summer.

For all the permutations as regards the UEFA World Cup qualifying groups, check out Paul Fennessy’s guide here as he has crunched the numbers.

But essentially we can tell you that automatic qualifiers already are Belgium (Group A), Italy (Group B), Germany (Group C),  Netherlands (Group D), and Switzerland (Group E).

GOAL! – It’s 1-0 to Iceland away to Norway in Group E. That’s a big goal for Iceland as victory will ensure they advance to the play-offs. Kolbeinn Sigþórsson their hero so far after he fired to the net in the 12th minute.

We’ll be paying particular attention tonight to events at Wembley where England bid for qualification against Poland in Group H. Kick off is at 8pm and Roy Hodgson has announced his starting eleven.

England: Hart, Smalling, Baines, Gerrard, Cahill, Jagielka, Townsend, Carrick, Sturridge, Rooney, Welbeck.

Will it be a good night for Hodgson?

Pic: Nick Potts/PA Wire/Press Association Images

GOAL! – Slovakia lead Latvia 1-0 in Group G thanks to a goal from Jakubko in the 9th minute. But that result is immaterial really as both teams are out of contention.

RESULT: Group E: Cyprus 0-0 Albania: The first result of the night is in and it’s a scoreless draw between the two lowest-ranked sides in this group. Cyprus finish bottom of the group on 4 points with Albania in 5th place on 10 points.

GOAL! Denmark 2-0 Malta – Denmark hit the front in Group B thanks to goals from Morten Rasmussen and Daniel Agger.

GOAL! Lithuania 0-1 Bosnia-Herzegovina: Is Vedad Ibisevic about to become a national hero in Bosnia? He’s just scored a goal to put them in front in Kaunas. There’s 14 minutes left and they’re on the road to Rio.

GOAL! We’ve had goals in Group G where Salata has put Slovakia up 2-0 against Latvia. In Group E Norway have drawn level at 1-1 against Iceland after Daniel Braaten has netted.

GOAL! Israel 1-1 Northern Ireland – Steven Davis has score to help Northern Ireland gain parity against Israel.

GOAL! Romania 1-0 Estonia – A penalty from Ciprian Marica has sent the Romanians into the lead.

Right now it look like Russia and Bosnia are closing in on automatic qualifying places with Portugal and Greece set for the play-offs.

GOAL! Portugal 3-0 Luxembourg – Helder Postiga has fired home the third goal for the Portuguese. It’s not likely to be enough to help them claim automatic qualification.

GOAL! Greece 2-0 Liechtenstein – Giorgos Karagounis has extended the Greeks lead.

ITV are recalling England’s slip up in 1973 when they drew 1-1 against Poland. Terry Butcher recalls clearly the heroics of Jan Tomaszewxski in goal. Lee Dixon has vague memories. Adrian Chiles reckons Roy Keane ‘as a young lad from Cork’ had no interest in it.

GOAL! Azerbaijan 1-1 Russia – A late goal by Cavadov for Azerbaijan as they draw level.

But Russia should still hold on to top spot with time running out.

GOAL! Serbia 1-0 Macedonia – Both teams out of the running in Group A but Tosic has given the Serbians the lead.

QUALIFIED: Russia from Group F

Russia’s game with Azerbaijan finishes 1-1 as they top the group on 22 points and Portugal come in on 21 points in second place. They’re heading to the playoffs.

GOALS! Armenia gone 1-0 up against Italy who have already qualified from Group B. Yura Movsisyan with the goal. While in Group A, Serbia are now in front 2-0 after a goal from Dusan Basta

QUALIFIED: Bosnia from Group G

The Bosnians will be on the plane next summer after defeating Lithuania 1-0 in Group G. Greece are set for the playoffs after winning 2-0 against Liechtenstein in that group.

In Group F, it’s finished Israel 1-1 Northern Ireland while Portugal defeated Luxembourg 3-0.

GOALS! Group C – Elsewhere in Ireland’s group, it’s Sweden who are ahead against Germany after a goal from Tobias Hysen in the 6th minute.

It’s kicked off in Wembley between England and Poland by the way.

GOALS! Group B – Denmark still have a shout of second spot in this group and they lead Malta 4-0 at the break. Daniel Agger has despatched two penalties in the first-half with Morten Rasmussen and Andreas Bjelland also on target.

Here’s how Poland are lining up in Wembley by the way:

Wojciech Szczesny, Grzegorz Wojtkowiak, Artur Jedrzejczyk, Kamil Glik, Piotr Celeban, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Adrian Mierzejewski, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Waldemar Sobota, Mariusz Lewandowski, Robert Lewandowski

GOALS! Austria have gone 1-0 up on the Faroe Islands in Group C with
Andreas Ivanschitz on the mark. While Netherlands are ahead 2-0 now against Turkey with Wesley Sneijder firing home the second goal.

Danny Welbeck nearly gets England off to a flying start but Leighton Baines low cross towards the Manchester United striker is diverted out for a corner. The corner is easily dealt with by Szczesny.

Now Szczesny is called into action to beat out a stinging drive by Andros Townsend. Still 0-0 at Wembley, 9 minutes gone.

GOAL! Italy 1-1 Armenia – Italy draw level with Alessandro Florenzi grabbing the equaliser.

GOAL! France 1-0 Finland – Franck Ribery has got France off to a good start with an 8th minute goal.

GOAL! Serbia 3-0 Macedonia – Good news Man City fans. Your man Aleksandar Kolarov has smashed home a penalty and put Serbia ahead 3-0 in a game that is of absolute no consequence.

Poland go close with Sobota finding the side-netting after a swift counter-attack. Nervy stuff early on for England.

GOAL! San Marino 0-2 Ukraine – Goals from Yevhen Seleznyov and Marko Devic get Ukraine off to a flying start. Not good news for England there.

Oof! As Ukraine go 3-0 up, Robert Lewandowski breaks against England but ultimately drags the ball just wide.

This was Roy Hodgson’s reaction face:

Negredo scores to put Spain a goal to the good against Georgia… but more interestingly, Andros Townsend absolutely wallops the ball off the bar, still scoreless after 29 minutes. That would have been incredible.

GOAL! England 1-0 Poland – Wayne Rooney heads England in front with a bullet header after a cross from Leighton Baines.

GOAL! Group H – Wayne Rooney heads England in front with a bullet header from a Leighton Baines cross. Big moment at Wembley.

While it’s all pretty uneventful in Dublin, elsewhere in Group C Germany are now leading Sweden 2-3.

Group A: A Robert Snodgrass goal ensures Scotland still lead Croatia 1-0 after 64 minutes. Belgium are drawing 0-0 at home to Wales while Serbia are thumping Macedonia 5-1.

Group B: Bulgaria have lost 1-0 at home to the Czech Republic with Dockal firing home the only goal of the game. Denmark hammered Malta 6-0 with Daniel Agger scoring twice. While Mario Balotelli has made it 2-2 between Italy and Armenia. Nine minutes left in that one.

Group C: Ireland have just gone 3-1 up against Kaazkhstan. Austria are 3-0 up against the Faroe Islands. While Germany are now 5-3 in front against Sweden thanks to a second-half hat-trick from Andre Schurrle.

Frank Lampard is coming on for England for Michael Carrick. 20 minutes left at Wembley with England still winning 1-0 against Poland.

Group D: All over here with Netherlands having topped the group already before tonight. They still won though away to Turkey 2-0 with Robben and Sneijder on the mark. Romania defeated Estonia 2-0 while Hungary were 2-0 winners against Estonia. That all means Romania finish in second place.

Group E: Granit Xhaka gave Group winners Switzerland a 1-0 victory over Slovenia. Norway drew 1-1 with Iceland while earlier it finished 0-0 between Cyprus and Albania.

That means Switzerland top that group with Iceland finishing in second place.

Group H: England still lead 1-0 against Poland thanks to Rooney’s first-half goal. Moldova are 3-1 up away to Montenegro. While Ukraine have enjoyed an easy night against San Marino, they lead 7-0 with 14 minutes left.

Group I: Ribery’s goal continues to give France the lead against Finland but Spain are on course to bag top spot as they lead Georgia 2-0 with goals from Negredo and Mata.

England’s Chris Smalling in action with Poland’s Jakub Blaszczykowski
Pic: David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Daniel Sturridge fires in a fierce shot but Poland’s Wojciech Szczesny does well to tip the ball away. Jack Wilshere is warming up for England. Just over 10 minutes of normal time remain.

Scotland are having a good night against Croatia. Steven Naismith has put them up 2-0 when he struck home the rebound after Barry Bannan’s penalty had been saved.

RESULTS

Group C: Faroe Islands 0-3 Austria; Ireland 3-1 Kazakhstan; Sweden 3-5 Germany

Group B: It’s finished 2-2 between Italy and Armenia.

So we’re just waiting now on the outcome of the games in Groups A, H and I.

By our reckoning Croatia, Portugal, Greece, Sweden, Romania and Iceland are all now guaranteed playoff spots. Denmark look like they could be the side to lose out.

If results stay the way they are, Ukraine will go from Group H into the playoffs and France will do likewise from Group I.

The English fans are singing ‘God Save The Queen’. They’re getting set to celebrate it seems.

GOAL! England 2-0 Poland: Steven Gerrard scores!

That should be that now with Gerrard bustling through the Poland defence and poking the ball to the net.

QUALIFIED: England top Group H and are bound for Brazil.

Group H: England clinch qualification with a 2-0 win over Poland after goals from Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard. Elsewhere it finished Moldova 5-2 Montengero and Ukraine are 8-0 in front against San Marino. They’ll advance to the playoffs.

Good news for Arsenal fans! Aaron Ramsey has scored for Wales, they’re drawing 1-1 with Belgium. Bad news for Arsenal fans! Mesut Ozil apparently got injured for Germany tonight.

Scotland round off their campaign on a positive note with a 2-0 win over Croatia.

QUALIFIED: Spain finish as winners of Group I

Spain defeated Georgia tonight 2-0 while France ran out 3-0 winners in that group with Karim Benzema hitting their third of the night.

So that brings an end to the night’s football.

Here are the Group winners bound for Brazil – Belgium, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Russia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, England, Spain.

And eight sides will get into the playoffs with Denmark, in Group B, the 2nd placed team to lose out.

Playoffs: Seeded – Croatia, Portugal, Greece, Sweden. Non-seeds: France, Ukraine, Romania, Iceland.

That’s all from us tonight, thanks for joining.

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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