Hal Robson-Kanu of Wales tries to control the ball as the Republic of Ireland’s David Meyler moves in to challenge. (Reuters photo)
Less than 18 months after sensationally knocking England out of Euro 2016, Iceland qualified for the World Cup for the first time on Monday following a 2-0 win over Kosovo.
Needing victory to ensure top spot in European qualifying Group I, goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Johann Gudmundsson ensured Iceland would be on the plane to Russia 2018.
Aleksandar Prijovic scored after coming on as a second-half substitute to steer Serbia to a 1-0 win over Georgia and secure a place at next year’s World Cup finals.
Prijovic struck the winner on 74 minutes in Belgrade as Serbia finished top of European qualifying Group D.
With Serbia winning, the Celtic showdown between Wales and Ireland in Cardiff was for the prize of a playoff berth in November.
Ireland took it, thanks to James McClean’s 57th-minute goal following a defensive mix-up by the Welsh.
The Irish are looking to qualify for the World Cup for a fourth time _ and first since 2002. They will not be seeded in the playoffs draw, which takes place on Tuesday.
Bale, the Real Madrid star, missed the game because of injury.
Striker Andrej Kramaric struck two superb second-half goals to grab second spot in Group I for Croatia and a place in the playoffs, as they beat Ukraine 2-0 in their final World Cup qualifier in Kiev
Needing a win to grab second place in the group, the home side took control, wasting two great chances around the half-hour mark, with Taras Stepanenko driving a powerful shot outside the post and Yevhen Konoplyanka heading just wide moments later.
Serbia 1-0 Georgia
Wales 0-1 Rep of Ireland
Albania 0-1 Italy
Israel 0-1 Spain
Iceland 2-0 Kosovov Ukraine 0-2 Croatia
Moldova 0-1 Austria
Macedonia 4-0 Liechtenstein