England slump to a draw in Montenegro
After a dominant first-half display, Roy Hodgson's England team let a 1-0 half-time lead slip against Montenegro to draw 1-1 in Podgorica, ensuring that the Three Lions still have it all to do if they are to qualify automatically for Brazil. The result leaves England second in Group H, still two points behind the Montenegrins and facing the prospect of needing to win all four remaining games if they are to top the standings. On a positive note for Hodgson's side, three of those games will take place at Wembley, including the return fixture against Montenegro as well as matches against Moldova and Poland.
England are still the favourites to win Group H, available @ [1.51]
Republic of Ireland teetering after home draw
Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland side have left themselves a sizeable incline if they are to qualify from Group C. The Boys in Green surrendered a 2-1 half-time lead to let in a sickening 92nd-minute equaliser against Austria, meaning that they stay locked in a three-way tussle behind Germany on eight points with the Austrians and Sweden. However, Sweden now harbour a significant advantage over their rivals having played a game less and already secured a point against runaway leaders Germany in Berlin.
Irish chances of a top-two finish are now rated at [3.15]
Spain hit the summit after French victory
World and European champions Spain bounced back from a most uncharacteristic home draw against Finland to triumph 1-0 in Paris over main Group I rivals France, who finished with 10 men after Paul Pogba was sent off on his second international appearance. The result lifts Vicente del Bosque's side back above the French by a point and into pole position to swerve a November play-off having already played their big challengers for Group I superiority twice.
France are now out to [4.5] to finish top of Group I
Super Mario firing Italy towards Rio
Mario Balotelli carried on his superb scoring form for club and country last night by bagging both the goals in a routine 2-0 win for Italy over bottom-placed Malta in Group B. Since starting the qualification process with a 2-2 draw against Bulgaria, the Balotelli-inspired Azzurri have gone on to seize control of the group with four straight wins and now sit pretty at the summit - three points above the second-placed Bulgarians with a game in hand.
Italy are currently rated at [25.0] for World Cup glory in 2014