Defending champion Spain and England qualified for the World Cup on Tuesday night along with Russia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, which earned its first berth as an independent nation.
Chile and Ecuador earned the last two automatic spots from South America. Another berth was at stake in the North and Central American and Caribbean region, the 21st of 32 slots for the field in Brazil next June.
Spain won Group I with a 2-0 victory over visiting Georgia. Alvaro Negredo scored in the 26th minute and Juan Mata doubled the lead in the 61st.
“It may look practically routine, but it’s important to remember how successful we’ve been at qualifying,” coach Vicente Del Bosque said. “This is not an easy competition.”
France was second in the group and will be in the playoffs despite defeating visiting Finland 3-0 with goals by Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema around Joona Toivio’s own goal.
Rooney, Gerrard fire
Wayne Rooney scored in the 41st minute and Steven Gerrard in the 88th to give England a 2-0 win over Poland at Wembley Stadium and first place in Group H by one point over Ukraine. The English qualified for their 14th World Cup and fifth in a row.
“We have a great togetherness, are there for each other and proved we can perform under pressure,” Gerrard said.
Portugal, Greece, Ukraine, Romania and Iceland placed second in their groups, winding up in Monday’s draw for the eight-team European play-offs next month along with Sweden and Croatia. The four play-off winners also will earn berths.
Bosnia won 1-0 at Lithuania on Vedad Ibisevic’s 68th-minute goal to win Group G on goal difference over Greece.
Greece defeated visiting Liechtenstein 2-0, as Dimitris Salpingidis scored in the seventh minute and Giorgos Karagounis added a goal in the 81st.
Russia won Group F with a 1-1 draw at Azerbaijan as Roman Shirokov scored in the 15th. Portugal finished a point back after defeating visiting Luxembourg 3-0 on goals by Silvestre Varela, Nani and Helder Postiga.
Italy, which already had clinched its place at Brazil 2014, had a 2-2 draw with Armenia at Naples. Alessandro Florenzi and Mario Balotelli scored for the Azzurri.
After securing top spot in its group last week, Germany rallied for a 5-3 win at Sweden with Andre Schuerrle’s second-half hat-trick following goals by Mesut Ozil and Mario Goetze.
A 2-1 win by Chile over visiting Ecuador earned both nations berths. Alexis Sanchez scored for Chile in the 35th minute and Gary Medel added another three minutes later, while Felipe Caicedo scored for Ecuador in the 66th.
Uruguay was fifth on goal difference after a 3-2 win at home over already qualified Argentina and will play a home-and-away play-off against Jordan. Cristian Rodriguez and Edison Cavani scored around a Luis Suarez penalty kick for the hosts, and Maxi Rodriguez had two goals for the visitors.
In the African playoffs, Ghana thrashed Egypt 6-1 in the first leg of the home-and-away series. The second leg is scheduled for November 18 in Cairo.