Germany, Switzerland make World Cup trips official

Germany topped Ireland 3-0 and Switzerland beat Albani 2-1 to ensure places in the 2014 World Cup in late qualifying action Friday night, as Sweden also locked up a play-off spot in beating Austria 2-1.

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil put the exclamation point on Germany's World Cup qualification on Friday with the team's third goal. Michael Probst / AP
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Germany and Switzerland reached the World Cup finals on Friday as Russia and Bosnia-Herzegovina all edged closer in late games.

Germany booked their place with a convincing 3-0 win over the Republic of Ireland to move to 25 points in Group C.

Switzerland reached the finals for the third time after a 2-1 win over Albania assured them of top spot in Group E.

The pair join Belgium, Italy and Netherlands who had already made sure of qualification.

Goals by Sami Khedira, Andre Schuerrle and Mesut Ozil confirmed Germany’s place in Brazil next year.

Sweden made sure of a play-off spot from the same group with a 2-1 win at home to Austria.

“All in all, we’ve done well in qualifying. The team have done their duty with eight wins out of nine games,” said Germany coach Joachim Loew.

Second-half goals from Xherdan Shaqiri and Michael Lang gave Ottmar Hitzfeld’s Switzerland victory in Tirana and an unassailable 21 points at the top of Group E.

It was a win which left one famous Swiss fan over-joyed.

“Switzerland made it to the World Cup, how happy am I on a scale 1-10? About a 25. Great effort and congratulations,” tweeted tennis ace Roger Federer.

Alexander Samedov, Viktor Faizukin, Denis Glushakov and Alexander Kerzhakov all scored to put Russia on 21 points.

Portugal were then held to a 1-1 draw by Israel who grabbed an 85th-minute leveller from Eden Ben Basat.

Ricardo Costa had opened the scoring for Portugal who face Luxembourg in their final match while Russia go to Azerbaijan.

Bosnia-Herzegovina saw off whipping boys Liechtenstein 4-1 with Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko scoring twice.

They lead Group G on goal difference from Greece who edged Slovakia 1-0.

The Netherlands swamped Hungary 8-1 in Amsterdam with Robin van Persie grabbing a hat-trick.

The Dutch have 25 points from nine games in Group D.

Denmark’s play-off hopes suffered a blow after a late equaliser by Alberto Aquilani helped Italy secure a 2-2 draw in Copenhagen that maintained their unbeaten record in Group B.

Italy, who qualified for Brazil with two games to spare, are on 21 points while Bulgaria, in second, and Denmark are both eight points adrift.

The Czech Republic sit in fourth, only one further point behind.

The nine group winners qualify for the finals while the eight best runners-up will play off for the remaining four spots.