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.
Turkey, the Czech Republic and Spain confirmed play-off spots, while Denmark and Euro 2004 winners Greece are out.
European qualification for the World Cup:
Group 1: Holland
Group 2: Ukraine
Group 3: Portugal
Group 4: France
Group 5: Italy
Group 6: England, Poland
Group 7: Serbia and Montenegro
Group 8: Croatia, Sweden
Play-off places: Czech Republic, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey
Goalflashes and major incidents (all times BST):
2137: FULL-TIME France 4-0 Cyprus
Joyous scenes at the Stade de France as the referee's whistle blows and the 1998 winners confirm that they will be in Germany next summer.
2135: FULL-TIME Republic of Ireland 0-0 Switzerland
The full-time whistle breaks hearts in Dublin as it confirms that the home side will not be going to Germany next year. It also means Switzerland are in the play-offs and France are group winners.
2128: GOAL France 4-0 Cyprus
A late strike from Ludovic Giuly confirms France's victory - although if Switzerland score late on, the French may not be group winners.
2123: Shay Given makes a fabulous, vital save to keep the Republic of Ireland level against Switzerland.
2122: FULL-TIME Serbia and Montenegro 1-0 Bosnia-Herzegovina
The full-time whistle goes to confirm Serbia and Montenegro as winners of Group Seven - and means Spain are only in the play-offs.
2121: FULL-TIME Slovakia 0-0 Russia
Slovakia confirm a play-off place with a 0-0 draw at home against Russia, whose failure to win means they do not go to Germany next summer.
2120: FULL-TIME San Marino 0-6 Spain
An easy win for Spain guarantees at least second place - but they must now wait for the result of Serbia and Montenegro's match to find out if they are group winners.
2116: GOAL San Marino 0-6 Spain
Fernando Torres completes his hat-trick for Spain, but their hopes remain in the hands of Serbia and Montenegro, who are still winning.
2115: SENDING OFF
Nemanja Vidic of Serbia and Montenegro is red carded with five minutes of the match with Bosnia-Herzegovina to go. Serbia and Montenegro still lead 1-0 and are close to a famous victory.
2110: Robbie Keane is substituted and Stephen Elliott comes on in his place.
2104: GOAL San Marino 0-5 Spain
Fernando Torres continues Spain's goal glut with a penalty - but Serbia and Montenegro still lead Bosnia-Herzegovina and are still on course to top the group ahead of the Spanish.
2101: Kevin Kilbane directs a header goalwards for the Republic of Ireland, but it is comfortably saved.
2054: Robbie Keane's ambitious overhead kick attempt flies high and wide of the goal to the disappointment of the Republic of Ireland fans.
2037: GOAL San Marino 0-4 Spain
Ramos Sergio scores his second as Spain pile on the goals against the group minnows - but Serbia and Montenegro are still winning, meaning the Spaniards are, at the moment, looking at a play-off place.
2036: HALF-TIME France 3-0 Cyprus
France are poised to top Group Four after an impressive first-half display at the Stade de France - although that could change if Switzerland beat the Republic of Ireland.
2032: HALF-TIME Republic of Ireland 0-0 Switzerland
A battling first-half performance from the Republic of Ireland has not yielded any goals. The game is still very much up for grabs, but the home side must score in the second half to stand a chance of going to the World Cup.
2031: GOAL France 3-0 Cyprus
A smart right-foot finish from Vikash Dhorasoo puts the French in complete command against Cyprus.
2021: FULL-TIME Sweden 3-1 Iceland
Victory confirms Sweden's place at the World Cup. Croatia win Group Eight courtesy of a draw against Hungary, but the Swedes' qualification record means they go through as one of the best two runners-up.
2021: GOAL Sweden 3-1 Iceland
Kim Kallstrom's last-minute goal secures Sweden's win and their place in the World Cup.
2020: GOAL France 2-0 Cyprus
Sylvain Wiltord makes it two goals in three minutes for France as he beats the offside chance. The French know victory will guarantee at least a play off spot.
2017: HALF-TIME San Marino 0-3 Spain
Spain seem set for victory, but their final group position depends on Serbia and Montenegro's result.
2017: HALF-TIME Slovakia 0-0 Russia
As it stands, Slovakia are set to grab a play-off spot in Group Three.
2016: GOAL France 1-0 Cyprus
Zinedine Zidane rifles the French into the lead just before the half-hour mark with a close range right-foot shot. It is a tremendous boost to their World Cup hopes.
2000: GOAL San Marino 0-3 Spain
Spain are cruising as Ramos Sergio increases their lead - but they will only finish second if Serbia and Montenegro hold on to their lead.
1945: The crucial matches in Group Four get underway. The Republic of Ireland host Switzerland and France host Cyprus.
In Group Four, France, Israel, the Republic of Ireland and Switzerland all still have hopes of qualifying.
1941: GOAL San Marino 0-2 Spain
Fernando Torres goal means Spain are already in command of the match after just 10 minutes.
1935: GOAL Serbia and Montenegro 1-0 Bosnia-Herzegovina
Former Chelsea striker Mateja Kezman gives the home side a fantastic start - if they win, Serbia and Montenegro qualify automatically.
1931: GOAL San Marino 0-1 Spain
Antonio Lopez nets in the first minute to put the Spaniards ahead against the group minnows.
1930: Several crucial games kick-off. Serbia and Montenegro kick off at home to Bosnia-Herzegovina knowing that a win for the visitors is likely to see them miss out on a World Cup spot. Spain are expected to win in San Marino - but that will only get them second place if Serbia and Montenegro win.
And Slovakia host Russia knowing they must avoid defeat to grab a play-off place - if they lose, their opponents will take it.
1918: HALF-TIME Sweden 2-1 Iceland
Barring some kind of second-half Icelandic footballing miracle, the Swedes' place in Germany 2006 is all but assured.
1913: GOAL Sweden 2-1 Iceland
Henrik Larsson's strike puts the Swedes ahead and means his side is all but certain of qualification.
1900: GOAL Sweden 1-1 Iceland
Zlatan Ibrahimovic's goal steadies the Swedes and levels the score.
1856: GOAL Sweden 0-1 Iceland
Kari Arnason gives Iceland a surprise lead over Sweden. But there is little need for the Swedes to panic. They will qualify automatically unless they let in another 11 goals.
1853: FULL-TIME Albania 0-1 Turkey
Turkey, the World Cup semi-finalists from 2002 are still in with a hope of qualification. Their win secures second place in Group Two, and breaks the hearts of Greece and Denmark who miss out.
The Danes win 2-1 in Kazakhstan, while Greece see off Georgia 1-0 at home - but both wins are rendered irrelevant by the Turkey victory.
1849: GOAL Kazakhstan 1-2 Denmark
Aleksandr Kuchma nets what looks like a late consolation for Kazakhstan. However, the Danes hopes look distant as Turkey still lead in Albania.
1832: The match between Sweden and Iceland kicks off. Sweden know they only have to avoid a heavy defeat to guarantee qualification.
1820: FULL-TIME Finland 0-3 Czech Republic
The Czech Republic grab second spot in Group One to oust Romania and grab at least a play-off spot. But their chances of qualifying automatically as the second-best qualifier are slim. For that to happen, Sweden would need to lose heavily at home to Iceland.
1816: GOAL Albania 0-1 Turkey
Tuemer Metin scores a potentially vital goal in Group Two. If Turkey win, they guarantee themselves second place regardless of the results involving Denmark and Greece.
1810: GOAL Kazakhstan 0-2 Denmark
Jon Dahl Tomasson's goal puts Denmark in a commanding position in Group Two.
1808: GOAL Kazakhstan 0-1 Denmark
Michael Gravgaard nets just after the interval with a potentially vital goal. As it stands, Denmark are set for second place in Group Two.
1753: HALF-TIME Kazakhstan 0-0 Denmark
The Danes are struggling against the Group Two minnows. They are likely to need to win to give themselves a chance of making the play-offs.
1748: HALF-TIME Albania 0-0 Turkey
If Greece win, then Turkey will have to beat Albania to get a play-off place.
1748: HALF-TIME Greece 1-0 Georgia
The Greeks are giving themselves a great chance of getting second place in Group Two.
1745: GOAL Finland 0-3 Czech Republic
Marek Heinz's 58th-minute goal puts the Czech Republic in a commanding position and they now seem certain to grab second place in Group One - and a play-off spot in the process.
1738: GOAL Finland 0-2 Czech Republic
Tomas Rosicky doubles the Czech's lead and they are now looking favourites to oust Romania from second place in Group One.
1723: HALF-TIME Finland 0-1 Czech Republic
The Czech Republic are 45 minutes away from the win which will guarantee them at least a play-off spot.
1721: GOAL Greece 1-0 Georgia
Dimitrios Papadopoulos scores on 17 minutes to put the Euro 2004 champions ahead. As it stands, that goal puts them second in Group Two.
1700: The three big matches in Group Two get underway - Albania v Turkey, Greece v Georgia and Kazakhstan v Denmark.
Turkey, Greece and Denmark are all in with a shout of the remaining play-off place behind group winners Ukraine, with Turkey currently occupying the coveted second spot.
1638: GOAL Finland 0-1 Czech Republic
Tomas Jun nets after six minutes to give the Czech Republic a great start in their must-win game.
1630: The Czech Republic kick-off in Finland knowing they have to win to grab a play-off spot.