Belgium and Germany lead qualifiers
Belgium, Germany and Switzerland have secured their places at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, with Russia almost certain to join them.
Italy and Holland were the only guaranteed European qualifiers heading into Friday's round of fixtures.
The first nation to join them were Belgium after they overcame closest challengers Croatia 2-1 in Zagreb.
The visitors needed only to avoid defeat to be sure of qualifying as winners of Group A, but got across the line with plenty in reserve.
Switzerland secured their place in Brazil with a comfortable 2-1 away win over Albania.
A draw would have been enough for Ottmar Hitzfeld's side to secure top spot in Group, E but they played for the win and got it with second-half goals from Granit Xhaka and Michael Lang.
Germany beat the Republic of Ireland to secure their spot in Brazil, triumphing 3-0.
Sami Khedira set the ball rolling with a deflected 12th-minute effort from distance, but it was not until Chelsea forward Andre Schurrle converted Toni Kroos' pass from close range 13 minutes after the restart that the points were assured.
Mesut Ozil added extra gloss to the scoreline, striking in stoppage time to top Group C with a game to spare.
Russia are almost certain to join the them after a 4-0 win in Luxembourg on a night in which nearest rivals Portugal could only draw 1-1 with Israel.
It will take something remarkable to stop Russia qualifying, as they have a three-point cushion and a far superior goal difference heading into the final Group F match in Azerbaijan.
Elsewhere this evening, Wales secured a 1-0 win over Macedonia in Group A and, having already won Group B, Italy held Denmark to a 2-2 draw.
In Group C, Zlatan Ibrahimovic's late strike secured a 2-1 win against Austria and a place in the play-offs.
The Faroe Islands picked up their first point of qualifying as Hallur Hansson's long-range strike put them on course for a 1-1 draw with Kazakhstan, for whom Andrey Finonchenko levelled.
Holland showed no sings of letting up despite having already secured progression as Group D champions, thrashing Hungary 8-1.
Szilard Devecseri netted an own goal, while Balazs Dzsudzsak struck home a consolation penalty for Hungary.
Rufat Dadashov and Mahir Shukurov helped Azerbaijan to a 2-0 win against Northern Ireland in Group F, while Bosnia-Herzegovina remain top of Group G thanks to a 4-1 win against Liechtenstein.
Martin Skrtel's own goal earned Greece a 1-0 win over Slovakia, putting them level on points with Bosnia heading into the final game.
Fedor Cernych and Saulius Mikoliunas helped Lithuania beat Latvia 2-0 in the other Group G encounter and England remain top of Group H after beating Montenegro 4-1 at Wembley.
Ukraine remain hot on their heels after Andriy Yarmolenko's 64th-minute strike earned them a 1-0 win against Poland, while earlier Eugeniu Sidorenco's brace and a Viorel Frunza goal helped Moldova to a 3-0 victory in their qualifier against San Marino.
Finally, Spain need just a point from Tuesday's clash with Georgia to secure their place at the World Cup.
The reigning champions moved clear at the top of Group I after a 2-1 win at home to Belarus, courtesy of goals from Xavi and Alvaro Negredo. Sergei Kornilenko pulled one back for the visitors late on.