Triple former champions Germany secured a place at next year's World Cup in Brazil with a game to spare in Group C qualifying after sweeping Ireland aside 3-0 on Friday.

Sami Khedira's deflected shot gave the hosts a 12th-minute lead and Andre Schuerrle made it 2-0 in the second half following a fine turn. 

Mesut Ozil then made sure of victory with the third goal in stoppage time.

Despite having more than half a dozen injury absentees, Germany were always in control with midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger back in the side after a six-month break to earn his 99th cap.

Germany have 25 points from nine games and an unassailable lead at the top of the group before they face second-placed Sweden in Stockholm on Tuesday.  

Switzerland qualifed for their third straight World Cup after a 2-1 win over Albania. 

The Swiss led Group E at the start of the day and needed just one point to qualify while Albania had to win to revive their slim hopes of topping the table.

Also on Friday, Belgium joined the party heading to Brazil.

England and Russia closed in on qualification after both hitting four past their opponents, Montenegro and Luxembourg respectively. 

Dutch dazzle

A hat trick from Robin van Persie earned the striker the status as the Netherlands' all-time leading scorer as the already-through Dutch hammered Hungary 8-1 in their World Cup qualifier in Amsterdam.

Van Persie took his tally to 41 goals from 80 appearances, passing Patrick Kluivert's record on a night of clinical efficiency from the Dutch, who were already qualified for next year's finals in Brazil and racked up their eighth win of the campaign.

Bosnia scored four goals in 12 first-half minutes to beat Liechtenstein 4-1 in World Cup qualifying Group G to take a big step towards reaching their first major tournament as an independent nation.

Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko scored twice and Zvjezdan Misimovic and Vedad Ibisevic added the other two goals in a frantic spell between the 27th and 39th minutes to keep Bosnia top of the group before Tuesday's final round of matches.

Nicolas Hasler pulled one back for the visitors in the 61st minute.

The win lifted Bosnia to 22 points from nine games, three more than Greece who faced Slovakia at home later on Friday.

Bosnia, who were treated to a standing ovation by their noisy fans after the final whistle, enjoy a vastly superior goal difference to Greece so if they win in Lithuania on Tuesday a place in Brazil will almost certainly be secured.

Turkey beat Estonia 2-0 in World Cup qualifying Group D to boost their hopes of reaching next year's finals in Brazil via the playoffs.

The win took Turkey to 16 points, second in the group and ahead of third-placed Romania on goal difference and two points clear of Hungary.

And in friendly action, Karim Benzema finally ended his long international goal drought during France's 6-0 thumping of Australia. 

FIFA World Cup Qualifying results: 

Crotia 1-2 Belgium
Wales 1-0 Macedonia
Armenia 2-1 Bulgaria
Malta 1-4 Czech Republic
Denmark 2-2 Italy
Faroe 1-1 Kazakhstan
Germany 2-0 Rep of Ireland
Sweden 2-1 Austria
Andorra 0-4 Romania
Estonia 0-2 Turkey
Netherlands 8-1 Hungary
Albania 1-2 Switzerland
Iceland 2-0 Cyprus
Slovenia 3-0 Norway
Azerbaijan 2-0 Northern Ireland
Luxembourg 0-4 Russia
Lithuania 2-0 Latvia
Bosnia 4-1 Liechtenstein
Greece 1-0 Slovakia
Moldova 3-0 San Marino
Ukraine 1-0 Poland
England 4-1 Montenegro
Spain 2-1 Belarus 
Portugal 1-1 Israel 

Source: Agencies