As the World Cup qualifiers draw to a close, a number of teams have booked their place in next year’s finals in South Africa.
Reigning champions Italy, Germany, Denmark and Serbia all qualified from Europe with results last night, while the Ivory Coast, the USA, Mexico and Chile also sealed a finals berth.
Italy’s 2-2 draw with the Republic of Ireland in Croke Park means they finish top of Group 8, while a Miroslav Klose strike was enough for Germany to see off Russia 1-0 in . Both sides now have an unassailable four point lead at the top of their respective groups.
Denmark overcame bitter rivals Sweden by a single goal in Copenhagen. The Swedes now drop to third place in the group after a Simao Sabrosa brace helped Portugal to a 3-0 win over Hungary.
A superb performance saw Serbia crush Romania 5-0, the same score that second place France beat the Faroe Islands by to confirm a playoff spot.
In the African qualifiers, a 1-1 draw against Malawi was enough for Didier Drogba’s Ivory Coast to book their finals spot. The Chelsea striker came off the bench in the 65th minute and scored his side’s equaliser three minutes later to secure the required result.
Tunisia can also confirm qualification if results go their way today.
Meanwhile, a 3-2 win away to Honduras sealed a spot for the United States in South Africa. The Americans came from a goal down to pick up the three points thanks to goals from Conor Casey (2) and Landon Donovan.
A comfortable 4-2 victory over Colombia means Chile will play in the World Cup for the first time since 1998, and Mexico kept up their good qualification record after a 4-1 win at home to El Salvador.