Adriano's hat-trick steers Brazil through

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The Independent Football

Brazil were 4-0 up within half an hour and Internazionale striker Adriano completed the rout ­ and his hat-trick ­ in injury time.

The United States' cunning plan to stage their qualifier against Mexico in a small stadium in Columbus, Ohio, an area low on Hispanic immigrants, paid off when a 2-0 win confirmed their place in Germany.

A free-kick from Leeds United's Eddie Lewis provided the first goal for Steve Ralston. Claudio Reyna, of Manchester City, set up the second for PSV Eindhoven's DaMarcus Beasley. Mexico will still qualify if they take a point from Wednesday's home tie with Panama.

Elsewhere in the group Trinidad & Tobago revived their hopes with a 3-1 win over Guatemala with two late goals from Coventry City striker Stern John. The Falkirk player Russell Latapy had earlier scored to mark his return to international football at the age of 37.

Ukraine qualified by right for next summer despite being held to a draw in Georgia by an 89th-minute equaliser. Another late leveller, in Istanbul, ensured Ukraine would go through while Denmark scramble for a play-off place with Turkey, the 2002 semi-finalists, and Euro 2004 winners Greece.

Elsewhere in Europe the Netherlands moved closer to the finals when their narrow victory over Armenia, courtesy of Ruud van Nistelrooy's goal, was combined with Romania's defeat of the Czech Republic, where Adrian Mutu scored both goals. The Dutch will top Group One if they win home matches against Andorra and Macedonia. In Group Three, Portugal stretched their lead to five points with a six-goal defeat of Luxembourg. Chelsea's Ricardo Carvalho celebrated a rare outing with two goals.

In Africa Michael Essien's Ghana are on the brink of qualifying for the first time. Chelsea's new £25m signing scored in a 2-0 win over Uganda which means a point in the Cape Verde Islands next month will put them through at the expense of South Africa.

Essien's Chelsea team-mate, Didier Drogba, also scored yesterday but his brace for Ivory Coast ­ the second a stunning free-kick ­ could not prevent a 3-2 home defeat. Victory over Cameroon would have put them into the finals but Alioum Saidou won the tie for Cameroon in the 85th minute. Ivory Coast must now defeat Sudan and hope Cameroon lose to Egypt.

Angola and Togo can also secure World Cup debuts next month and deny Nigeria and Senegal in the process. Morocco must win in Tunisia to overtake them and claim the region's fifth place.

Mark Viduka scored twice as Australia effectively sealed their place in a play-off against the fifth-placed South American team by taking a 7-0 first-leg lead over Solomon Islands in the Oceania play-off.

Already booked their place...

Germany (who qualify as hosts)




Saudi Arabia

South Korea


United States