Republic of Ireland will have to qualify via the play offs if they are to book their place in France next summer after falling to a 2-1 defeat against Poland in Warsaw.
Martin O’Neill’s side needed to win or secure at least a 2-2 draw to claim second place in Group D but despite Jon Walters’ equaliser from the spot, goals from Grzegorz Krychowiak and Robert Lewandowski saw Adam Nawałka’s side qualify at the visitors’ expense.
The Green Army, who had John O’Shea sent off late on for a second yellow card, nearly grabbed the draw they needed 10 minutes from time but Lukasz Fabianski saved Richard Keogh’s header right on the line.
Elsewhere in the group, Germany defeated Georgia 2-1 at home to finish top, thanks to Max Kruse’s goal 11 minutes from time, whilst Steven Fletcher netted a second half hat-trick as Scotland ended qualification on a high with a 6-0 win over a Gibraltar side which finished their first campaign without a single point.
In Group F, Northern Ireland, who secured qualification on Thursday, finished top of their group after a 1-1 draw in Finland; Craig Cathcart’s 13th minute opener was cancelled out three minutes from time by Paulus Arajuuri.
Romania joined Michael O’Neill’s side in next summer’s finals with a comfortable 3-0 victory at Faroe Islands, whilst Greece, who finished bottom after a disastrous campaign, ended with a 4-3 victory over Hungary, who are currently UEFA’s best third ranked side meaning, as it stands, they will qualify automatically.
In Group I, Albania shocked everyone by qualifying for their first ever major tournament after winning 3-0 in Armenia.
The result means Denmark will enter the play-offs with Portugal confirming their dominance in the group by beating nine-man Serbia 2-1 in Belgrade thanks to goals from Nani and Joao Moutinho.
Manchester City’s Aleksandar Kolarov and Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic were both sent off late on as they finished their campaign with just four points from eight matches.