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World Cup qualifying round-up: Who is heading to Brazil?
The World Cup qualifying programme enters a critical phase tomorrow as the final round of European group games takes place. Chief Sports Writer Scott Wilson looks at the state of play ahead of tomorrow's matches, and also examines what is happening in the rest of the world ahead of next summer's finals in Brazil
Belgium reached the World Cup finals for the first time since 2002 when Romelu Lukaku's double secured a 2-1 win over leading rivals Croatia on Friday evening.
With the likes of Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen, Eden Hazard, Marouane Fellaini, Moussa Dembele and Lukaku in their squad, many are tipping the Belgians as potential dark horses in Brazil.
Belgium finish their campaign with a home game against Wales, while Croatia, who are guaranteed a play-off spot, travel to Hampden Park to take on Scotland.
Play-offs: Bulgaria, Denmark, Czech Republic or Armenia
As comfortable group winners, Italy had already booked their place in Brazil before they drew 2-2 with Denmark on Friday in a game that saw Gianluigi Buffon become the Azurri's most capped player.
Italy complete their qualifiers with a home game against Armenia, who are one of four sides embroiled in a fierce battle for second spot.
Bulgaria or Denmark are the likeliest runners-up, but only eight of the nine second-placed sides will make the play-offs and with Group B's points totals currently the lowest, it is possible that all the teams will miss out.
With eight wins from their nine matches, Germany could hardly have been more impressive as they cruised through their qualifying pool.
They outclassed the Republic of Ireland on Friday, and complete their programme with a trip to Stockholm to face Sweden tomorrow.
The Swedes, who have only suffered one defeat themselves, are guaranteed to finish second as they are six points ahead of Austria. With Zlatan Ibrahimovich in fine goalscoring form, they will be one of the fancied teams in the play-offs.
Play-offs: Turkey, Romania or Hungary
Generally one of the more impressive sides in qualifying, Holland have been as effective as ever as they have claimed 25 points from a possible 27 to win their group.
Robin van Persie's hat-trick in Friday's 8-1 humiliation of Hungary made him Holland's all-time leading goalscorer, and he will attempt to add to his tally in Turkey tonight.
Turkey need to win the game, as they currently only lead Romania on goal difference in the race for a play-off place, and Romania sign off with an eminently winnable home game against Estonia.
Play-offs: Iceland or Slovenia
Switzerland qualified for their third successive World Cup finals when goals from Xherdan Shaqiri and Michael Lang secured a 2-1 win over Albania on Friday.
The Swiss, who boast 21 points, sign off with a home game against Slovenia this evening, and the game will help determine whether their opponents finish second and make the play-offs.
Slovenia start the evening a point behind Iceland, who will achieve the highest qualifying finish in their history if they beat Scandinavian rivals Norway in Oslo.
Winners: Russia or Portugal
Play-offs: Russia or Portugal
The first of the four groups still up for grabs, Group F has developed into a straight shoot-out between Russia and Portugal, with the losers guaranteed to drop into the play-offs.
Fabio Capello's Russia are very much in the driving seat, as they boast a three-point advantage and only need a point from tomorrow's final game in Azerbaijan to reach Brazil.
Should they lose in Baku, however, Portugal will pip them if they beat Luxembourg by a sufficiently large margin to close a seven-goal gap on goal difference.
Winners: Bosnia-Herzegovina or Greece
Play-offs: Bosnia-Herzegovina or Greece
Things could hardly be tighter as Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece are locked together on 22 points after recording Friday-night wins over Liechtenstein and Slovakia respectively.
Bosnia, who are looking to create history by reaching their first World Cup finals as an independent state, boast a mammoth 17-goal advantage on goal difference, and will surely be guaranteed top spot if they beat Lithuania in Vilnius.
However, any sort of slip up from Bosnia would let in Greece, who have the much easier task of a home game against the whipping boys of Liechtenstein.
Winners: England or Ukraine
Play-offs: England, Ukraine or Montenegro
England held on to pole position when they put four goals past Montenegro on Friday, but they still need to beat Poland at Wembley tomorrow to claim a World Cup spot.
Anything less than a victory would let in Ukraine, who are surely not going to slip up in their final game, which takes them to San Marino.
Poland have nothing to play for after their defeat to Ukraine three days ago, which could work in England's favour. Roy Hodgson's side can finish no worse than second, and are guaranteed at least a play-off place.
Winners: Spain or France
Play-offs: Spain or France
With a three-point lead over France, reigning world and European champions Spain only need a point from their final game at home to Georgia tomorrow to book a place in Brazil.
They have not been at their best during the current round of qualifiers, but it is still all but impossible to see them slipping up.
If they were to suffer a shock defeat, France would beat them if they saw off Finland by two or more goals. The much more likely scenario is that France will contest the play-offs.
With five qualifying places on offer, the African qualifiers are reaching their climax as ten sides battle it out in a programme of two-legged play-offs.
Cheik Tiote's Ivory Coast kicked things off on Saturday, beating a Senegal side that featured Papiss Cisse 3-1, with the second leg taking place at a neutral ground in Morocco next month.
Burkina Faso also claimed a narrow first-leg advantage courtesy of a 3-2 win over Algeria.
Nigeria beat Ethiopia 2-1 yesterday, while Tunisia played out a goalless draw with Cameroon. Ghana entertain Egypt in the first leg of their play-off tomorrow.
Qualified: Australia, Iran, Japan, South Korea
The Asian qualifiers were the first to be completed, with four of the continent's traditionally strongest sides booking their place in Brazil.
An initial round of qualifying resulted in ten teams being split into two groups, with the first two in each section making it to the World Cup. Iran and Japan were the group winners, with South Korea and Australia finishing as runners-up.
The two third-placed sides, Jordan and Uzbekistan, played off for the right to face the fifth-best team in South America for a World Cup place, with Jordan winning 9-8 on penalties after both games finished 1-1.
Qualified: United States, Costa Rica
Possible qualifiers: Honduras or Mexico
Play-off: Honduras, Mexico or Panama
United States have qualified for the World Cup as group winners from the final round of North and Central American qualifying.
Costa Rica joined them last month when a 1-1 draw in Jamaica was sufficient to guarantee a top-three spot.
The final automatic qualifying place is a shoot-out between Honduras and Mexico, who are traditionally the strongest side on the continent, but who have struggled this time around.
Boasting a three-point advantage, Honduras only need a point from their final game in Jamaica tomorrow to make the finals.
Mexico, who travel to Costa Rica, could overtake them if they lose, but are much more likely to finish fourth and drop into an inter-continental play-off against the Oceania champions, New Zealand.
Qualified: Brazil (as hosts), Argentina, Colombia
Possible qualifiers: Ecuador, Chile or Uruguay
Play-off: Ecuador, Chile or Uruguay
Brazil qualified automatically as hosts, and after a typically hard-fought campaign, they have been joined by Argentina, who will finish as comfortable group winners, and Colombia, who guaranteed their qualification as they came from three goals down to claim a 3-3 draw with Chile on Friday evening.
Two other sides will qualify automatically, and they will be drawn from either Ecuador, Chile or Uruguay.
Ecuador and Chile boast a three-point advantage, and therefore only need a point tomorrow to guarantee a place in the finals. Given they face each other in Santiago, a draw seems eminently possible.
If there is a positive result, it could let in Uruguay, who host Argentina. However, despite boasting the likes of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, it is likely that Uruguay will drop into a play-off against Jordan.
Play-off: New Zealand
Perhaps unsurprisingly, New Zealand boasted a 100 per cent record from a final round of qualifiers that pitted them against New Caledonia, Tahiti and Solomon Islands.
Their reward is an inter-continental play-off against either Honduras, Mexico or Panama from the North American section.
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