World Cup round-up: Nani fills in to help keep Ronaldo's hopes alive

Two more European qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup finals were confirmed last night, Switzerland and Slovakia booking their places in South Africa, while Portugal, despite being without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo, reached the play-offs with a 4-0 win over Malta.

The man brought into the Portuguese side in place of Ronaldo, his former Manchester United team-mate Nani, answered his many critics by putting Carlos Queiroz's side ahead in the 13th minute in Guimaraes. Simao made it two on the stroke of half-time and further goals from Miguel Veloso and Edinho saw Portugal coast home.

Slovakia will make their first appearances in a major championship next year after winning Group Two with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Poland in Chorzow. The Slovaks were handed the lead in the fourth minute through a Seweryn Gancarczyk own goal and held out to ensure Slovenia, 3-0 winners in San Marino, had to be content with a play-off place.

Switzerland confirmed their place in South Africa with a nervous 0-0 draw against 10-man Israel in Basle. The point for Ottmar Hitzfeld's side was enough to clinch first place in Group Two over Greece, who beat Luxembourg 2-1.

In England's group, Croatia were eliminated despite a 2-1 victory in Kazakhstan with Spurs' Niko Kranjcar heading their late winner. Instead Ukraine finished second after their 6-0 win over Andorra and go into the play-offs, whose draw takes place on Monday.

Spain, the European champions and many people's tip to triumph next year, joined a select group of teams to finish with a perfect World Cup qualifying record, making it 10 wins out of 10 with an impressive 5-2 win in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Seville striker Alvaro Negredo scoring twice on his full debut.

Like England, two of the fancied teams who had already qualified produced undistinguished performances last night. Germany were booed off in Hamburg after requiring an injury-time equaliser from Lukas Podolski to salvage a 1-1 draw with Finland.

Meanwhile, the world champions Italy had to come from 2-0 down against Cyprus to win 3-2 in Parma, Alberto Gilardino, who scored their late equaliser against the Republic of Ireland on Saturday, hitting a hat-trick in the last 12 minutes.

Wales finished a disappointing qualifying campaign on a positive note by beating Liechtenstein 2-0 in Vaduz, David Vaughan and Aaron Ramsey getting their goals. Northern Ireland earned a creditable 0-0 draw with the Czech Republic in Prague which killed off any hopes the Czechs had of a play-off spot.

Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov scored a first-half hat-trick as Bulgaria won 6-2 in Georgia.

Road to South Africa: What happens now?

Qualified Australia, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, England, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, North Korea, Paraguay, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, US.

European play-offs (14 & 18 Nov): Bosnia, France, Greece, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Russia, Slovenia, Ukraine.

American play-off (14 & 18 Nov): Argentina/Uruguay/Ecuador/Venezuela v Costa Rica/Honduras.

Asia/Oceania play-off (14 Nov): New Zealand (0) v Bahrain (0).

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders