London: Romelu Lukaku’s two goals fired Belgium’s golden generation into next year’s World Cup finals with Germany and Switzerland also sealing their tickets to the Brazil extravaganza, on Friday.
In South America, Colombia booked their World Cup berth with three second-half goals to draw Chile 3-3 on Friday. The South American giants have stormed into the World Cup for the first time since 1998.
Chile led 3-0 at the break, but Colombia rebounded with a 69th-minute goal from Teofilio Gutierrez and two penalties by Falcao in the 75th and 84th.
“I’m very proud of my team, I’ve rarely seen a national team in this kind of match get back from 0-3 down,” said Colombia’s coach Jose Pekerman after his side, who had won five home qualifiers in a row, conceded three goals in the opening half hour before fighting back.
Belgium will return to the global showpiece for the first time since 2002 after a 2-1 win in Croatia guaranteed top spot in Group A.
Germany’s 3-0 home win over Ireland, with goals from Sami Khedira, Andre Schuerrle and Mesut Ozil, put them through from Group C while the Swiss won 2-1 in Albania to wrap up Group E.
Netherlands, with Robin van Persie hitting a hat-trick in an 8-1 demolition of Hungary to surpass Patrick Kluivert as record Dutch scorer with 41 goals, and Italy had sealed their passage to the finals before Friday’s penultimate round of qualifiers.