Italy sealed its place in Euro 2012 with a late goal in a 1-0 victory over Slovenia on Tuesday. The Netherlands and England both won to close in on a spot for next year's tournament in Ukraine and Poland.
Substitute Giampaolo Pazzini scored in 85th minute to give the Italians a narrow victory in Florence. They clinched the top spot in Group C with two games to spare.
The 2006 world champions join Germany in the tournament. Spain could become the third team to advance if it wins at home against Liechtenstein in Group I later Tuesday.
The Netherlands maintained its perfect record in Group E with a 2-0 victory in Finland. But the Dutch still need a point to guarantee first place. That is also the case with England, which beat Wales 1-0 in Group G on a goal by Manchester United winger Ashley Young.
In Asian world Cup qualifying, Australia took control of its campaign with a 3-1 victory over Saudi Arabia. Iraq, coached by Brazilian soccer great Zico, put its World Cup campaign back on track with a 2-0 win at Singapore.
Asian powers Iran, Japan and South Korea faltered: Iran-Qatar, Japan-Uzbekistan and South Korea-Kuwait all end in 1-1 draws.
The United Arab Emirates fired coach Srecko Katanec of Slovenia after its 3-1 loss to Lebanon. UAE has almost no chance of advancing after two losses.
- Giampaolo Pazzini