Denmark secured second place in World Cup qualifying Group B with a 6-0 victory over Malta in Copenhagen - but missed out on a play-off berth as they finished with the weakest record of the nine runners-up.
The game was over as a contest by the interval, with two Daniel Agger penalties and strikes from Morten Rasmussen and Andreas Bjelland giving the hosts a commanding 4-0 lead.
Rasmussen and substitute Nicki Bille Nielsen netted further goals in the closing stages to seal an emphatic triumph, but it was not enough.
The Danes made the perfect start, opening the scoring in the eighth minute when Rasmussen headed home Peter Ankersen's right-wing cross.
Two minutes later the hosts were awarded a penalty when Michael Krohn-Delhi was brought down by John Mintoff, and Agger blasted the spot-kick high into Justin Haber's net.
Bjelland nodded another Krohn-Delhi corner goalwards in the 19th minute, and, although Haber was in the right place to make the save, the FC Twente defender was not to be denied soon after.
In the 27th minute, Ankersen sent in the cross from the left and Bjelland directed his header into the bottom-right corner.
Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel was called into action for the first time 10 minutes before half-time to tip Clayton Failla's 25-yard blast around the post, but moments later it was 4-0.
Emil Larsen was felled by Andrei Agius, Agger this time placing his left-footed spot-kick into the bottom-right corner.
It could have been an even heftier half-time margin, but Haber got down well to divert Rasmussen's near-post shot out for a corner.
The one-way traffic continued after the break, but Haber and the Malta back line held firm - until the 74th minute.
The Birkirkara goalkeeper tipped an attempt from William Kvist Jorgensen around the post just after half-time and did likewise to an Aleksandr Kuski free-kick after substitute Kuski and Ankersen had fired wide.
However, 16 minutes from time, Rasmussen connected with a Krohn-Delhi cross and then 10 minutes later Bille Nielsen slotted home Larsen's pass to round off the rout.