The last competitive matches of the year gave Europe’s top teams their tickets to next year’s World Cup in Qatar while those who narrowly missed out will get another chance in the March play-off matches.
Georgia’s shock 2-0 home win over Sweden paved the way for Spain to qualify while Serbia came from an early goal down to deny Portugal and qualify with a last-minute 2-1 winner in Lisbon. Enis Bardhi scored a hat-trick as North Macedonia thrashed their Armenian hosts 5-0 while Latvia held Norway to a goalless draw in Oslo and 10 Finns triumphed 3-1 in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Group-toppers Denmark lost 2-0 in Scotland while Poland were 2-1 losers at home to Hungary and Iceland drew 0-0 in Romania. The Republic of Ireland scored 3 goals in without reply in Luxembourg and nine-man Malta were taken apart 6-0 by their Slovakian visitors with a hat-trick from Andrej Duda and a double from Albert Rusnak while Kosovo earned a 1-1 draw in Greece and Ukraine reached the play-offs with a 2-0 win in Bosnia & Herzegovina.
In South America, Bolivia, who lost 3-0 in Peru, returned home to upset Uruguay 3-0 with a double from Juan Carlos Arce, despite being reduced to 10 players, while Chile lost 2-0 at home to Ecuador and Paraguay played a goalless match in Colombia. Mexico lost 2-0 away to the USA in the North American section.
In Africa, DR Congo enjoyed a 3-0 win away to Tanzania while Niger drew 1-1 against Burkina Faso in Morocco and Fashion Sakala netted 3 times as Zambia put 4 past their visitors from Mauritania without reply while a late brace from Christian Bassogog helped Cameroon to 4-0 win over Malawi in South Africa. Tunisia lost 1-0 away to Equatorial Guinea while Peter Wilson scored twice in front of his home crowd as Liberia defeated Central African Republic 3-1 and Burkina Faso picked up a 2-2 draw at group winners Algeria. The UAE were 1-0 winners away to Lebanon in the Asian section and in a friendly match Nicaragua lost 3-0 at home to Cuba.