France and Sweden clinched European automatic berths yesterday for next year's World Cup in Germany.
France defeated Cyprus, 4-0, to win Group 4.
"I'm satisfied and very happy that we qualified," France Coach Raymond Domenech said. "We won the matches that we had to."
Sweden won, 3-1, at home over Iceland to secure second place in Group 8 behind Croatia. Sweden advanced as one of the best two second-place teams. Poland is the other best second-place team after losing at England, 2-1.
The Czech Republic, Turkey, Slovakia, Switzerland and Spain clinched playoff spots by finishing second in their groups. Norway already had earned a playoff berth.
The Netherlands, Ukraine, Portugal and Italy are the other group winners. Germany advances automatically as the host nation.
Under European rules, the eight group winners and the top two second-place teams advance automatically. The other six second-place teams go into a playoff next month for Europe's three other spots.
The draw for next month's European playoffs is tomorrow in Zurich.
Threatened with elimination if it lost -- or facing a playoff if Switzerland won -- France won, 4-0, at Stade de France in Saint-Denis with first-half goals from Zinedine Zidane, Sylvain Wiltord and Vikash Dhorasoo. Ludovic Giuly scored in the 84th.
In the other key group game, Switzerland drew, 0-0, at Ireland to claim a playoff spot. France finished with 20 points and Switzerland and Israel had 18. The Swiss advanced on the fourth tiebreaker -- better total goal difference in the group. Ireland finished with 16 points.
Spain, which beat San Marino 6-0 with three goals from Fernando Torres, finished with 20 points to make the playoffs. Spain last missed the World Cup finals in 1974.
In Group 8, Croatia took first place despite a 0-0 draw at Hungary. In the other crucial group game, Sweden beat visiting Iceland, 3-1, on goals by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrik Larsson and Kim Kallstrom.
Croatia and Sweden each finished with 24 points, but Croatia won the group because of two head-to-head wins against the Swedes. Croatia entered the game already guaranteed of qualifying.
Turkey finished in second place in Group 2, beating Albania 1-0 on Tumer Metin's 57th-minute goal. Denmark and Greece both had chances to finish second, but were eliminated by the Turkish victory. Denmark won at Kazakhstan, 2-1, behind early second-half goals from Michael Gravgaard and Jon Dahl Tomasson.
Playing at home, European champion Greece defeated Georgia, 1-0, on Dimitris Papadopoulos's 17th-minute goal. Ukraine won the group with 25 points. Turkey has 23, Denmark 22 and Greece 21.
"We're all terribly disappointed," Greece captain Theodoros Zagorakis said. "We're all to blame for this. It's not right to blame any one person."
The Czech Republic won, 3-0, at Finland to finish second in Group 1, getting goals from Tomas Jun, Tomas Rosicky and Marek Heinz. The Netherlands topped the group with 32 points. The Czechs finished with 27, while Romania had 25.
Slovakia earned a spot in the playoffs by holding Russia to a 0-0 draw in Group 3. Slovakia, which has never played in a major soccer competition since it gained independence in 1993, was second behind group winner Portugal.
In a playoff next month, Bahrain, Asia's fifth-place nation after ousting Uzbekistan, will face the fourth-place team from the CONCACAF region, Trinidad and Tobago, which upset visiting Mexico, 2-1. Australia will face South America's No. 5 team, Uruguay, in a playoff. Uruguay defeated Argentina, 1-0, at home last night.
Martino, Twellman Lift U.S.
In Foxborough, Mass., Kyle Martino (Virginia) and Taylor Twellman (Maryland) scored their first international goals as the United States beat Panama 2-0 in its final qualifying match.
Already qualified for the World Cup, the U.S. team fielded a starting lineup that included six players with less than 10 games of international experience and two players, midfielders Justin Mapp and Brian Carroll (D.C. United), making their first appearances for the national team.
United's Santino Quaranta also started for the Americans, who finished atop the six-nation standings with a 7-2-1 record.