Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal and Antoine Griezmann’s France booked spots at the 2018 World Cup finals on Tuesday while the Netherlands crashed out.
Portugal beat Switzerland 2-0 in Lisbon thanks to a Johan Djourou own goal and an Andre Silva strike.
France needed goals from Griezmann and Olivier Giroud in a hard-fought 2-1 win over Belarus at the Stade de France.
After a stuttering campaign, France’s achievement in beating Bulgaria and Belarus in their final two qualifiers means they avoid the playoffs having had to go through that route for the last two finals.
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi fired Argentina into the World Cup with a brilliant hat-trick on Tuesday as South American champions Chile suffered a shock elimination.
Messi single-handedly resurrected Argentina’s hopes in a 3-1 win over Ecuador in Quito that drew a line under a chaotic campaign that had left the two-time champions in danger of failing to qualify.
The Barcelona superstar scored twice inside the opening 20 minutes to give Argentina the lead after Ecuador had stunned the visitors with an opening goal after from Romario Ibarra after 38 seconds.
Messi then completed his hat-trick – the 44th of his dazzling career – with a sublime chip in the second half to seal the victory.
The Chileans – winners of the Copa America in 2015 and 2016 – were soundly beaten 3-0 by Brazil in Sao Paulo to see themselves eliminated on goal difference.
The Chileans finished level on points with Peru, who secured a two-leg playoff against New Zealand, but trailed on goal difference.