As the World Cup qualifying round nears its conclusion, it is now a forgone conclusion that just one of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will struggle over the finish line with aspirations for next summer's competition still intact.

As the Three Lions laboured to a mediocre 0-0 draw in Kiev that assures their World Cup fate is still in their own hands, another dismal evening for Giovanni Trapattoni's Boys In Green ensured the Italian's reign as the Republic of Ireland boss will end with a whimper as his side succumbed to a 1-0 defeat away to Austria, cueing more 'Goodnight Vienna' headlines than anyone could possible need.

Any lingering hopes of qualification were extinguished after a 1-0 loss at home to Sweden last Friday coupled with last night's defeat, a five day sequence that had a particularly poignant "end of cycle" feel to it.

That sense was emphasised this morning when the FAI announced 74-year-old Trapattoni has left his managerial post by mutual consent.

While the veteran coach may have led Ireland to their first competitive tournament in ten years at Euro 2012, a woefully inept showing - even with the brutally better standard of group opponents in mind - struck a telling blow.

An uninspiring assault on their World Cup qualifying group has left exasperated fans wondering what, if anything, has been learned during his reign.

While the situation the national team was left in following Steve Staunton's reign of terror five years ago is a wholly different category of anarchy, where the Irish team go from here is the reverberating question.

The sight of Connor Sammon entering the fray will have given England supporters a tinge of retrospect given their lack of options last night, but will have been a pertinent reminder of the worrying dearth of talent available to any manager prepared to take on the demanding role.

Defeat to Macedonia last Friday was inevitable confirmation that Wales will miss out on yet another international competition.

Even the introduction of the world's most expensive player could do little to instigate a glistening conclusion to an abysmal qualifying campaign on Tuesday as Chris Coleman's suffered a sixth defeat in eight games with a 3-0 home defeat to Serbia.

Overlooking the glaring inclusion of Gareth Bale, Wales do possess a squad which has steadily garnered more options, albeit some ranging from the very good to the woefully average.

But Coleman's admission last night that his side's focus must now be solely on not finishing bottom of their group is the grim reality of the long road ahead.

For Northern Ireland, the picture remains as bleak as ever. Similarly for Wales, hopes of even a resilient challenge for qualification were optimistic at best.

This is likely to be particularly frustrating for a team that have the ability to lift themselves to produce such valiant efforts as was the case in their 4-2 loss to Portugal last Friday, but one that can succumb to a calamitous fiasco just a few days later, as drained fans bore witness to last night after a 3-2 defeat to minnows Luxembourg.

A fear of failure on the rare occasion when Northern Ireland have found themselves as favourites has so often led to disappointment, and a seemingly endless spell in the lower echelons of qualification groups.

While the Republic of Ireland may hold hopes that a shake-up across the board will reinvigorate and Wales can pin their hopes to their individual talents, Michael O'Neil's side will likely find themselves battling against the same old constraints and limitations they're usually fixed with with when Euro 2016 qualification commences.

Perhaps the most positive rays of light emanate from north of the border. After taking over from the unpopular Craig Levein four games into the qualifying campaign - a run that produced just two points - Gordon Strachan has steadily restored some confidence in the Scotland set up, despite the gaping void separating them from the group's leaders Belgium and Croatia.

Finishing with a flourish against Croatia will be the desired end to ensure the continuity that Strachan has called for becomes regular feature, something which could perhaps provide a springboard for a more momentous challenge in a year's time.

Only a spectacular capitulation, even by England standards, will ensure Roy Hodgson's side miss out on Brazil 2014 however things are as equally uncertain across the natioanl team.

While the rest of the home nations are inundated with concerns regarding the present and future, England's outlook is no rosier.

A thrilling campaign in Brazil could certainly remedy such concerns but a scenario where they are pushed further into chaos seems the likelier option.