On Tuesday night, four teams from Uefa could have made it through to Brazil 2014: Switzerland, Germany, The Netherlands and Italy. The Swiss and the Germans snatched all three points, but were reliant on other results to fall their way. Unfortunately for those countries, the others in their groups weren't quite as obliging, and they'll have to wait until the next round to book their tickets for Rio.
Andorra 0-2 The Netherlands
It was Holland that clinched the first Uefa spot, beating Andorra 2-0, which seems like a low number of goals to put past a side that picked up exactly zero points, but hey. Robin van Persie scored twice within four minutes and that was all the oranje needed. That and Ron Vlaar, who started and, perhaps unsurprisingly, picked up a yellow card.
Italy 2-1 Czech Republic
Poor Libor Kozak did not have the best night. Sure, the newest Villa forward scored the opening goal against the azzurri, but things went rather downhill from there. The Czechs took their lead into the second half, when Italy scored twice in three minutes, the second a penalty conversion from Mario Balotelli. Then Kozak got a yellow card for slicing through the forehead of Manuel Pasqual with his elbow, sending blood gushing everywhere and putting himself on some sort of twisted Christmas card list from the azzurri supporters.
Malta 1-2 Bulgaria
Italy clinching first means Bulgaria will need to qualify through the playoff round, but they're going to have to fight off Denmark, who are just a point behind. Aleksandar Tonev failed to make an appearance, so there's not really much else to say about this match except why do we have a group with three Villa countries together?
Armenia 0-1 Denmark
Denmark's win means they're still in it. It's Italy up next, followed by Malta, so there's a chance that the Danes could still win a vacation to Brazil, particularly if Cesare Prandelli uses the last two matches to work some experimentation into the azzurri lineup. Neither Jores Okore nor Nicklas Helenius made an appearance, and for the life of me I can't remember Helenius being on the original list of Denmark players called up. But congrats anyway!
It took until the 84th minute for David Alaba to score, but the win keeps Austria alive and hopeful of qualification. Next up they face Sweden, who beat Kazakhstan 1-0 to stay three points ahead of Austria. Ireland are a further three points back but qualification is really just theoretical at this point. As for the Villans, Andi Weimann missed a good chance to turn in a spilled Alaba chance shortly after the restart, and he came off in the 74th minute. Ciaran Clark came in in the 49th to replace John O'Shea, and surely there was a head wound involved somewhere in that transaction.
For the love of god, Roy, call up Gabby Agbonlahor. Please. Despite switching back and forth between Bosnia's win over Slovakia and Czech Republic's loss to Italy, and taking some time to celebrate a rare goal from San Marino, I'd still like to demand back my 90 minutes spent watching any portion of this match. It's only due to the good Joe Hart making an appearance that Ukraine didn't manage to grab all three points. England remain top by one point, and face Montenegro next, and really please win Montenegro because then maybe we'd never have to see Roy Hodgson manage a side again ever.
United States 2-0 Mexico
Yep, the United States did it, dos a cero again. If you're a USMNT supporter, check out everything about this match, from the build up to a history of the 2-0 to the goals, right here. For our Villa purposes, Tim Howard won out over Brad Guzan, so I refuse to believe this is any sort of coup for the U.S. Hopefully Jurgen Klinsmann will come to his senses over the next few months.
In other world news, Argentina are through after their 5-2 victory over Paraguay, but a lack of Gonzalo Higuain means they suck too. Oh, wait, that's another blog. Alas Colombia will have to wait to clinch a spot at Brazil, as they fell 2-0 to Uruguay, who suddenly really want to go to the World Cup.
Now, can we move on? It's time to play some real football. Stay tuned -- we'll bring you everything you need to know about the Newcastle match over the next few days.