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).

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice