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Bosnia, England and Spain secure World Cup spots

Bosnia, England and Spain have all booked their place in the 2014 World Cup after the final round of European qualifying matches. France, Portugal, Ukraine, Iceland and Romania were among the teams to make the playoffs.

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Bosnia qualifies for World Cup

Bosnia-Herzegovina's qualification to for next summer's World Cup in Brazil on Tuesday was surely the biggest highlight of the evening. A single goal from Stuttgart striker Vedad Ibisevic in the 68th minute was all the Bosnians needed to defeat Lithuania in Kaunas.

It's the first time they will be heading to a major finals as an independent nation. It is an historic achievement for a country formed in the wake of a bloody conflict two decades ago that killed more than 100,000 people.

Fans poured into Sarajevo's central square to celebrate the victory, lighting flares and fireworks.

"I congratulate these guys for their great work in the last four years, and it would have been real injustice if we had failed to win the group and qualify for the World Cup," Coach Safet Susic told FACE television after the match.

The former Yugoslav republic finished level with Greece atop Group G with 25 points, but edged them out on goal difference.

England, Spain secure qualification

Goals from Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard at London's Wembley Stadium against Poland helped England achieve World Cup qualification.

"Getting the goal gave us some belief, the confidence to go on," Rooney said. "We believed we could win and then Stevie's goal has seen us qualify."

The Three Lions topped Group H and finished their qualifying campaign unbeaten. In the process, manager Roy Hodgson became the first Englishmen to guide his country to World Cup qualification since Glenn Hoddle in 1997.

Ukraine finished runners-up in the group, despite a 8-0 thrashing of last-placed minnows San Marino.

Defending World Cup champions Spain were assured a chance to defend their crown after defeating Georgia 2-0 in Albacete. Alvaro Negredo put the Spanish ahead midway through the first half, and Juan Mata doubled the lead 15 minutes into the second period of play.

Spain's Alvaro Negredo (R) celebrates with his teammates Juanfran (C) and Xavi Hernandez (L) after scoring the 1-0 lead during the FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match between Spain and Georgia at Carlos Belmonte stadium in Albacete, Spain, 15 October 2015. EPA/JUAN CARLOS CARDENAS +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

Spain will have the chance to defend their title in Brazil

Spain only needed a point to be guaranteed qualification and the win puts them three points clear atop Group I, ahead of France. The victorious end to their campaign means the Spanish national team has kept alive its record of not losing a World Cup qualifier for 20 years.

Russia also sealed their place in Brazil next summer after they got the point they needed in a 1-1 draw away to Azerbaijan.

Bosnia, England, Spain and Russia join Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy and Belgium as the European teams who have now qualified for the World Cup.

European playoff teams set

The eight best second-place finishers in UEFA's 9 World Cup qualifying groups were also finalized on Tuesday. Contesting the playoffs are France, Greece, Ukraine, Croatia, Sweden, Romania, Iceland and Portugal.

Those runners-up will be paired into home-and-away ties at a draw on October 21, with the winners going to the World Cup.

Full Tuesday UEFA World Cup qualifying results:

Group A

Serbia 5-1 Macedonia

Belgium 1-1 Wales

Scotland 2-0 Croatia

Group B

Bulgaria 0-1 Czech Republic

Denmark 6-0 Malta

Italy 2-2 Armenia

Group C

Faroe Islands 0-3 Austria

Republic of Ireland 3-1 Kazakhstan

Sweden 3-5 Germany

Group D

Hungary 2-0 Andorra

Romania 2-0 Estonia

Turkey 0-2 Netherlands

Group E

Cyprus 0-0 Albania

Norway 1-1 Iceland

Switzerland 1-0 Slovenia

Group F

Azerbaijan 1-1 Russia

Israel 1-1 Northern Ireland

Portugal 3-0 Luxembourg

Group G

Greece 2-0 Liechtenstein

Lithuania 0-1 Bosnia-Herzegovina

Latvia 2-2 Slovakia

Group H

England 2-0 Poland

Montenegro 2-5 Moldova

San Marino 0-8 Ukraine

Group I

France 3-0 Finland

Spain 2-0 Georgia

The following countries have already secured their spots for the 32 teams competing at the FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil 2014:

Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, England, Germany, Honduras,Iran, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, Spain, South Korea, USA.

dr/rg (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)

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