Germany and Switzerland qualify for 2014

Robin van Persie becomes Holland's leading scorer as Germany and Switzerland join Belgium in 2014 World Cup finals.

    Germany and Switzerland qualify for 2014
    No surprises as Germany reach Brazil after putting three past Ireland. England and Russia also took a step closer [AP]

    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


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