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Oct 11, 2013

Germany, Belgium qualify for World Cup

Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland all won Friday to clinch places at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Later Friday, Colombia rallied from a three-goal halftime deficit to draw 3-3 with Chile to earn their first World Cup berth since 1998.

Germany sealed a spot with an assured 3-0 win over Ireland to win Group C in UEFA qualification.

Sami Khedira opened the scoring with a deflected shot in the 12th minute, Andre Schuerrle scored in the 58th after Toni Kroos scooped the ball over the Irish defence, and Mesut Ozil completed the scoring on his 50th appearance in injury time.

"It was clear we wanted to book our ticket (for Brazil) today and you could see that from how we approached the game," said Germany captain Philipp Lahm. "The team showed from the first minute that we wanted to have everything sorted out."

Belgium clinched their place by winning Group A, thanks to a 2-1 win against Croatia in Zagreb, sealed by two goals from Everton's on-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku.

Lukaku fired the Belgians in front after 15 minutes and doubled their lead after 38, skipping round Stipe Pletikosa before slotting home.

"With such players around me, it can only be easy," said Lukaku.

Belgium will appear at the World Cup for the first time since 2002.

Switzerland won 2-1 in Albania to clinch Group E and earn a trip to Brazil.

A draw would have been enough for Ottmar Hitzfeld's side to secure the top spot in Group E but they played for the win and got it with second-half goals from Granit Xhaka and Michael Lang.

"I'm really looking forward to the next challenge," Hitzfeld told Swiss broadcaster RTS. "We're aiming to reach the second round (in Brazil)."

In Colombia, Chile led 3-0 at the break, but the hosts rebounded with a 69th-minute goal from Teofilio Gutierrez and two penalties by Falcao in the 75th and 84th.

Arturo Vidal converted a penalty in the 19th minute, and Alexis Sanchez scored in the 22nd and 29th minutes.

Colombia is the third South American team confirmed for next year's tournament. Argentina had already advanced and Brazil qualifies as host.

Fourteen of the 32 spots at the World Cup have now been claimed.

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