Holland and Italy both qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil last night, as Germany and Switzerland moved to within a game of taking their places in next year's tournament.

The Netherlands were able to get past Andorra thanks to a quick-fire brace from Robin van Persie in the second half, and after Turkey defeated Romania, Louis van Gaal's side are now nine points clear at the top of their group and their place in Brazil secured.

Meanwhile, Italy had to come from 1-0 down to defeat Czech Republic 2-1 and find themselves seven points clear at the top of Group B. Mario Balotelli and Giorgio Chiellini were able to undo the damage caused by Aston Villa striker Libor Kozak, with the Czechs losing any chance of a comeback thanks to Daniel Kolaf being sent off in the final minutes.

"I think we're among the favourites [to win the World Cup]", Balotelli told RAI Sport after the win. "There are one or two teams above us, but they should fear us, not the other way around."

Meanwhile for Germany and Switzerland World Cup qualification can be sealed in their next game. Joachim Low's side defeated Faroe Islands 3-0 thanks to goals from Arsenal duo Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker, while Thomas Muller added a third for the side.They must now avoid defeat at worst against Republic of Ireland to ensure qualification.

Switzerland need to beat Albania to finish top of Group E thanks to a brace from Fabian Schar handing them a victory over Norway. Even if they draw their next game, Iceland will need to thrash bottom-placed Cyprus to stand any chance of overhauling Ottmar Hitzfeld's side on goal difference.

In Group F the fight continues to be tough for the automatic qualifying spot between Russia and Portugal, with Fabio Capello's side winning their match in hand to go to the top by a point. Both sides have two games left, neither being against one another, and Russia does appear to be in the driving seat to seal a ticket to Brazil over the favourites should they defeat Luxembourg and Azerbaijan.

England's lacklustre draw with Ukraine kept them at the top of Group H, but only by a point. With two more games coming up against Montenegro, who could still qualify, and Poland who are an outside chance, it will be a tough end to the campaign for the Three Lions.

Meanwhile, with Spain having the night off, France were aforced to show their powers of recovery as they twice came fom behind to defeat Belarus 4-2. Franck Ribery equalized twice after Egor Filipenko and Timofey Kalachev handed Belarus the advantage. Late goals from Samir Nasri and Juventus golden boy Paul Pogba sealed the win, keeping France equal with Spain in Group I though the latter has a game in hand.

Bosnia and Greece remain level on point at the top of Group G thanks to wins over Slovakia and Latvia respectably. Even if Greece do not drop points against Slovakia, Bosnia's far superior goal difference means victory next time out against Liechtenstein all but guarantees them automatic qualification.