The European qualifying round reached its conclusion in November with the top 14 joining hosts Austria and Switzerland for next year’s European championships. In the last 2 fixture days Croatia who had qualified by virtue of Israel’s win over Russia despite losing 2-0 away to neighbours Macedonia, ended the hopes of England with a 3-2 win at Wembley making England the highest team in the rankings not to qualify for the finals. Turkey who came from a goal down in Norway to register a vital 2-1 victory and turn the table in their favour also qualified with an expected win over Bosnia on Wednesday. Portugal reached the finals despite being held 0-0 at home by Finland. Among teams not to reach the finals, Belarus ended on a high with a 4-2 win in Albania followed by a historic 2-1 home triumph over the Dutch. Lithuania also showed promise winning 2-0 at home to Ukraine and away to Georgia. Germany failed to claim top spot in their group after being held to a goalless home draw against Wales, while Armenia ended their campaign losing 1-0 at home to Kazakhstan. Moldova enjoyed a 3-0 win against Hungary and Bulgaria returned from Slovenia with a 2-0 win.
While Europe was focused on Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup qualifying matches had already begun in other parts of the globe with New Caledonia enjoying a 4-0 win over Fiji in the Oceania section. In South America Peru gained a creditable 1-1 draw at home to Brazil, but let their guards down and were thrashed 5-1 in Ecuador. Paraguay moved to the top of the table with a powerful 3-0 win in Chile as Argentina lost their 100% record with a 2-1 defeat in Colombia.
The 2010 World Cup qualifying draw for the rest of the world will take place this weekend, with the Euro 2008 draw following a week later.