Russia joined in finals shake-up by Bosnia-Herzogovina

Romania book their place in Brazil as Iceland claim a play-off berth

Bosnia-Herzegovina fans  celebrate their qualification for the  2014 World Cup on the streets of Sarajevo. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Bosnia-Herzegovina fans celebrate their qualification for the 2014 World Cup on the streets of Sarajevo. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Tue, Oct 15, 2013, 22:58

Bosnia-Herzegovina will head to the World Cup finals for the first time in their history thanks to a 1-0 win over Lithuania.

Vedad Ibisevic scored the only goal after 68 minutes to ensure the Balkans would top Group G ahead of Greece, whose 2-0 victory at home to Liechtenstein was not enough.

Dimitris Salpingidis (seven minutes) and Giorgos Karagounis (81) were the scorers for the Greeks, who now face a play-off if they want to make it to Brazil next summer.

Russia secured their place at next summer’s finals by the narrowest of margins after conceding a last-minute equaliser in their qualifier against Azerbaijan.

Capello’s side
Fabio Capello’s men began the day three points clear of second-placed Portugal and needing a draw in Baku to ensure they would be on the plane to Brazil.

Roman Shirokov set Russia on their way after 16 minutes and a win looked even more likely when Maksim Medvedev was sent off for the home side after 73 minutes. But Vagif Javadov’s last-minute strike set nerves fluttering, although the visitors held on for the result they needed.

Russia finish the group one point ahead of Portugal, who were comfortable 3-0 winners over Luxembourg but still have to settle for a play-off spot.

The 29th-minute dismissal of Aurelien Joachim left the visitors with a mountain to climb and they could not keep out goals from Silvestre Varela (30), Nani (36) and Helder Postiga (78).

Romania beat off competition from Turkey and Hungary to finish second and bag a play-off place.

A 2-0 victory over Estonia, courtesy of two goals from Ciprian Marica (31 and 81), saw the Romanians finish two points clear of Hungary, who were also 2-0 winners over Andorra.

Nermanja Nikolic’s header (52) and an Ildefons Lima own goal (79) teed up the result for Hungary, who responded positively to last week’s 8-1 mauling at the hands of the Netherlands.

Turkey’s hopes of finishing runners-up were ended with a 2-0 loss to the Dutch, for whom Arjen Robben (nine minutes) and Wesley Sneijder (47) were the scorers.

Iceland will also have another shot at reaching Brazil 2014 as they claimed second place in Group E with a 1-1 draw in Norway. The visitors led through Kolbeinn Sigthorsson’s 13th-minute strike and although Daniel Braaten levelled things up on the half hour, the point was enough to see Iceland through ahead of Slovenia, who lost 1-0 in Switzerland.

Granit Xhaka scored the only goal in that match after 74 minutes for a Swiss side who had already won the group.

Italy ended Armenia’s hopes of progressing with a 2-2 draw in their final Group B qualifier in Naples.

Spain booked their place at the finals in Brazil with a minimum of fuss when Alvaro Negredo and substitute Juan Mata struck in a comfortable 2-0 home win over minnows Georgia.

The victory in Albacete meant the world and European champions finished top of qualification Group I on 20 points from eight matches, three ahead of France, who beat Finland 3-0 in Paris and go into the play-offs.

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