The Republic of Ireland failed in their bid to reach the World Cup finals after drawing 0-0 with Switzerland at home.
There was no shortage of passion, but ultimately the Swiss held out to get a play-off spot behind Group Four winners France, who beat Cyprus 4-0.
Elsewhere, Sweden and Serbia & Montenegro both qualified for Germany with wins on Wednesday evening.
The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey confirmed play-off spots, but Denmark, Greece and Russia are out.
Serbia and Montenegro beat bitter Balkan rivals Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0 to qualify for next year's World Cup finals at the expense of Spain.
Victory left Serbia top of Group Seven ahead of Spain, whose 6-0 win over San Marino gave them a play-off place.
Serbia's goal came from former Chelsea striker Mateja Kezman, who scored from point blank range on seven minutes.
Serbian and Bosnian fans pelted each other with flares and plastic seats forcing police to move in.
Switzerland pipped the Republic of Ireland to a play-off place in Group Four after drawing with the Irish 0-0 at Lansdowne Road.
France topped the group after thrashing Cyprus 4-0 at the Stade de France with Zinedine Zidane, Sylvain Wiltord and Vikash Dhorasoo scoring in the first-half and and Ludovic Giuly adding a fourth late on.
Slovakia secured a play-off place by holding Russia to a goalless draw in theirfinal Group Three qualifier.
Slovakia finished ahead of Russia on goal difference after both teams, who drew 1-1 in Moscow in September 2004, ended the qualifying campaign with 23 points.
Portugal had already won the group to qualify automatically.
Reaching the playoffs is Slovakia's biggest soccer success in its 12-year history as an independent state.
They could now face the Czech Republic in the playoffs, with Spain or Turkey the other options.
Turkey and the Czech Republic maintained their hopes of reaching the finals but Greece, surprisingly crowned European champions 15 months ago, were eliminated.
With Ukraine wrapping up top spot in Group Two last month, Turkey made sure of finishing second with a 1-0 win in Albania to move to 23 points.
Denmark finished third after a 2-1 win over Kazakhstan and Greece were fourth following their 1-0 home win over Georgia.
The Czech Republic beat Finland 3-0 in Helsinki with goals from Tomas Jun (6), Tomas Rosicky (51) and Marek Heinz (58).
The win gave the Czechs (27 points) second place ahead of Romania, but behind the Netherlands who finished on 32 points after a 0-0 home draw with Macedonia.
Sweden, who were almost certain of going through from Group Eight before they started against Iceland in Stockholm, made sure of their place when they recovered from 1-0 down to seal a 3-1 victory.
Sweden had to lose by 13 goals with results going against them elsewhere if they were to fail to qualify.
Kari Arnason's 25th minute goal gave Iceland a surprise lead but goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic (29). Henrik Larsson (42) and Kim Kaellstroem, in stoppage time, secured a comfortable win for the Swedes.
Croatia, who had already qualified, drew 0-0 in Hungary to take first place in the group, with Sweden qualifying automatically as one of the two best European runners-up.
Across the Atlantic, two Stern John goals gave Trinidad and Tobago a 2-1 win over Mexico.
The victory clinched fourth place in the Concacaf qualifying group for the Caribbean island. Guatemala missed out despite beating Costa Rica 3-1.
That means the "Soca Warriors" will now meet Bahrain in a two-legged play-off for a place in Germany.
And in South America, Uruguay beat neighbours Argentina 1-0 thanks to an Alvaro Recoba goal and clinched the play-off berth on offer for the fifth-placed team.
Uruguay went into the final round of games one point clear of rivals Colombia and Chile and the narrow victory was enough to seal fifth place. They now meet Australia over two legs for a World Cup spot.
Colombia, for their part, won 1-0 in Paraguay, who had already qualified, while Chile drew 0-0 at home to Ecuador.
Brazil beat Venezuela 3-0 to finish on top of the South American qualifying table, with Argentina second, Ecuador third and Paraguay fourth.