England fail to impress bookmakers
Tuesday night's World Cup qualifiers produced their fair share of surprises as the home nations endured mixed fortunes.
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England headed Group H on their visit to Kiev to play third-placed Ukraine and with the home side boasting victories in their last four qualifiers, it was a match that Roy Hodgson's men simply could not afford to lose.
In the end, it may not have been pretty but a 0-0 result will largely have been considered as a success.
Montenegro did not play on this round of fixtures but Poland's predictable defeat of San Marino saw them maintain their mathematical hopes of qualification alive though they face Ukraine and England in their last two matches.
While qualification is far from assured, the bookmakers erred on the side of caution and 25/1 is readily available about England to prevail in Brazil.
Elsewhere Northern Ireland went down to a disappointing defeat against Luxembourg but of more significance to Group F was Russia's victory over Israel.
The Russians have overtaken Portugal at the top of the group and the automatic qualification slot is interestingly poised.
Holland have progressed to the finals as winners of Group D having seen off Andorra and are 25/1 with 188bet to go one better this time.
Romania's hopes of qualification from Group D were dealt a hefty blow by Turkey. The Turks look a rejuvenated outfit under Fatih Terim and their 2-0 defeat was compounded by Hungary's 5-1 victory over Estonia.
Mario Balotelli helped to see Italy qualify for the 2014 finals as winners of Group B.
They are rated as 20/1 chances by Stan James to repeat their 2006 success although Sky Bet go just 16/1.
Bulgaria took advantage of Armenia's slip up against Denmark to go into second place.
In Group C, it was very much as you were as the top three teams won their matches and Germany maintained their unbeaten record. Joachim Low's men are a general 5/1 to win the 2014 World Cup.
Group G saw Bosnia and Greece take the points in the respective games although the Bosnians are well ahead on goal difference.
Belarus were as big as 13/2 to see off France in their Group I encounter and they looked on the verge of producing a shock as they twice went ahead.
Life is never easy for backers of France but they eventually prevailed and leapfrogged Spain at the table.
The 2010 winners have a game in hand and are a general 11/2 to retain their trophy.