World Cup Qualifying: England, Spain, Russia Punch Tickets To Brazil

Famous quitters: Those who bailed rather than face scandal, scrutiny or stress

Spain (6-0-2) won Group I with a 2-0 victory over visiting Georgia on goals by Alvaro Negredo in the 26th minute and Juan Mata in the 61st. Iker Casillas returned to starting lineup for Spain after being replaced by Victor Valdes against Belarus last week. The Spanish, who have won three straight major tournaments, including the 2008 and 2012 European Championships, qualified for their 10th straight World Cup. It may look practically routine, but its important to remember how successful weve been at qualifying, coach Vicente Del Bosque said. This is not an easy competition. France (5-1-2) was second and will be in the playoffs despite defeating visiting Finland 3-0 on goals by Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema around Joona Toivios own goal. Cristiano Ronaldos Portugal, Greece, Ukraine, Romania and Iceland also finished second in their groups, winding up in Mondays draw for the eight-team European playoffs next month along with Sweden and Croatia. The four playoff winners also will earn berths. With a population of just over 300,000, Iceland would be the smallest nation to qualify for a World Cup. Trinidad and Tobago, at about 1.3 million, was at the 2006 tournament in Germany. The seedings for the playoffs will be determined by Thursdays FIFA rankings. Denmark (4-2-4) had the poorest record among the nine second-place teams and missed out on a playoff berth. Bosnia (8-1-1) won 1-0 at Lithuania on Vedad Ibisevics 68th-minute goal to win Group G on goal difference over Greece. Bosnia-Herzegovina gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1992.

England, Spain, Bosnia, Russia qualify for World Cup; Greece, Portugal in playoffs

A worker cleans an exterior of a newly built urban complex building accommodating offices and retail shops in Beijing October 14, 2013.  REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (CHINA - Tags: BUSINESS CONSTRUCTION TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

A court in the northern port city of Murmansk has already denied bail to two Britons and four Russians held over the September 18 protest in which activists tried to scale the Prirazlomnaya oil rig and security forces later boarded the Greenpeace ship. The piracy charges, punishable by up to 15 years’ jail, appear aimed at sending a message that Moscow will not tolerate attempts to disrupt its development of the resource-rich Arctic. Other countries and firms seeking to exploit Arctic energy resources face similar concerns from environmentalists, who fear they will destroy a pristine ecosystem. Willcox, 60, a veteran campaigner who was at the helm of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior when it was bombed and sunk by the French secret service in 1985, denied the charges against him in court. “I have been doing this for 40 years and never faced a charge like this,” the state-run Russian news agency RIA quoted him as saying. “If I could start everything over, I would stay in New York.” Greenpeace says the protest at the rig owned by state-controlled Russian energy company Gazprom was peaceful and calls the piracy charges absurd and unfounded. “He is a hero not a pirate,” Willcox’s wife, Maggie, said in a statement. “I appeal to the common sense and conscience of the Russian authorities to let my husband and the rest of the people from the Arctic Sunrise come home.” President Vladimir Putin has said the activists were not pirates but that they had violated international law. The head of the Kremlin’s human rights advisory body has said he would ask prosecutors to withdraw the piracy charges. Investigators have said more charges will be pressed against some protesters as drugs and other suspect items had been found on the ship. Greenpeace denies there were illegal items aboard.

Azerbaijan vs. Russia: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview

A solid performance is needed to overpower Azerbaijan. Portugal’s fixture against Luxembourg is as close to a given as international football ever produces, especially when you consider the minnows have just one win in nine qualifying matches this campaign. Group F Standings 6 FIFA.com. The trip to Baku isn’t a gruelling one for the Russians. With Baku sitting just south of Russia’s east border, Capello’s team will be well-rested and ready to outplay their opponents. The teams met almost a year to the day on Oct. 16, 2012, but as the Moscow crowd found out, Azerbaijan are capable of making a nuisance of themselves. A late Roman Shirokov penalty notched a 1-0 victory in a match that saw the visitors fall just short of an excellent draw. Azerbaijan’s recent 2-0 victory over Northern Ireland produced their only three points of the qualifying campaign, as Berti Vogts’ team continue to stutter with draws. Russia haven’t been quite as accommodating. Capello’s team have 19 goals to their name, including four against Luxembourg last time out.

Russia denies bail for Greenpeace U.S. captain, two activists

Spain (6-0-2) won Group I with a 2-0 victory over visiting Georgia on goals by Alvaro Negredo in the 26th minute and Juan Mata in the 61st. Iker Casillas returned to starting lineup for Spain after being replaced by Victor Valdes against Belarus last week. The Spanish, who have won three straight major tournaments, including the 2008 and 2012 European Championships, qualified for their 10th straight World Cup. It may look practically routine, but its important to remember how successful weve been at qualifying, coach Vicente Del Bosque said. This is not an easy competition. France (5-1-2) was second and will be in the playoffs despite defeating visiting Finland 3-0 on goals by Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema around Joona Toivios own goal. Cristiano Ronaldos Portugal, Greece, Ukraine, Romania and Iceland also finished second in their groups, winding up in Mondays draw for the eight-team European playoffs next month along with Sweden and Croatia. The four playoff winners also will earn berths. With a population of just over 300,000, Iceland would be the smallest nation to qualify for a World Cup. Trinidad and Tobago, at about 1.3 million, was at the 2006 tournament in Germany. The seedings for the playoffs will be determined by Thursdays FIFA rankings. Denmark (4-2-4) had the poorest record among the nine second-place teams and missed out on a playoff berth. Bosnia (8-1-1) won 1-0 at Lithuania on Vedad Ibisevics 68th-minute goal to win Group G on goal difference over Greece. Bosnia-Herzegovina gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1992. Almost 10,000 fans jumped, cried and screamed Vamos Bosnia or Go Bosnia when Ibisevic scored in Kaunas.