Italy and Holland were the only guaranteed European qualifiers heading into Friday's round of fixtures.
The first nation to join them were Belgium after they overcame closest challengers Croatia 2-1 in Zagreb.
The visitors needed only to avoid defeat to be sure of qualifying as winners of Group A, but got across the line with plenty in reserve.
Romelu Lukaku's brace sealed an impressive victory as Croatia - who replied late on through Niko Kranjcar - had to be content with a place in the play-offs.
Switzerland secured their place in Brazil with a comfortable 2-1 away win over Albania.
A draw would have been enough for Ottmar Hitzfeld's side to secure top spot in Group, E but they played for the win and got it with second-half goals from Granit Xhaka and Michael Lang.
There was late drama when Diego Benaglio fouled Odise Roshi in the area and Hamdi Salihi blasted home an 89th-minute penalty, but Switzerland hung on to finish the job off with victory.
Germany beat the Republic of Ireland to secure their spot in Brazil, triumphing 3-0.
Sami Khedira set the ball rolling with a deflected 12th-minute effort from distance, but it was not until Chelsea forward Andre Schurrle converted Toni Kroos' pass from close range 13 minutes after the restart that the points were assured.
Mesut Ozil added extra gloss to the scoreline, striking in stoppage time to top Group C with a game to spare.
Russia are almost certain to join them after a 4-0 win in Luxembourg on a night in which nearest rivals Portugal could only draw 1-1 with Israel.
Alexander Samedov, Victor Faizulin and Denis Glushakov all scored in the first half for Fabio Capello's side, with Alexander Kerzhakov adding netting the fourth in the 73rd minute.
It will take something remarkable to stop Russia qualifying, as they have a three-point cushion and a far superior goal difference heading into the final Group F match in Azerbaijan.
Portugal look set to be beaten to an automatic ticket to Brazil after Ricardo Costa's strike was cancelled out late on when Israel's Eden Ben Basat capitalised on a poor Rui Patricio giveaway.
Elsewhere on Friday evening, Wales secured a 1-0 win over Macedonia in Group A and, having already won Group B, Italy held Denmark to a 2-2 draw.
Pablo Osvaldo put the visitors ahead, only for Nicklas Bendtner's brace to put the hosts ahead in Copenhagen.
The Danes were, however, denied victory as Alberto Aquilani netted in stoppage time.
Bulgaria are in second place despite a 2-1 defeat in Armenia, Aras Ozbiliz and Yura Movsisyan netting for the hosts.
Ivelin Popov scored for Bulgaria, who had Svetoslav Dyakov sent off.
Tomas Hubschman, David Lafata, Vaclav Kadlec and Tomas Pekhart scored for the Czech Republic as they won 4-1 in Malta, for whom Michael Mifsud scored.
In Group C, Zlatan Ibrahimovic's late strike secured a 2-1 win for Sweden against Austria and a place in the play-offs.
Martin Harnik put the visitors ahead, only for Martin Olsson and Ibrahimovic to score.
The Faroe Islands picked up their first point of qualifying as Hallur Hansson's long-range strike bagged a 1-1 draw with Kazakhstan, for whom Andrey Finonchenko levelled.
Holland showed no sings of letting up despite having already secured progression as Group D champions, thrashing Hungary 8-1.
Robin van Persie hit a hat-trick, while there were also goals for Kevin Strootman, Jeremain Lens, Rafael van der Vaart and Arjen Robben.
Szilard Devecseri netted an own goal, while Balazs Dzsudzsak struck home a consolation penalty for Hungary.
There was also a big win for Romania, with Claudiu Keseru, Bogdan Stancu, Gabriel Torje and Costin Lazar scoring in a 4-0 win at Andorra.
They are level on points with Turkey, who won 2-0 in Estonia thanks to goals from Umut Bulut and Burak Yilmaz either side of half-time.
Iceland beat Cyprus 2-0 in Group E thanks to goals from Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Gylfi Sigurdsson, while Milivoje Novakovic hit a hat-trick in Slovenia's 3-0 win against Norway.
Rufat Dadashov and Mahir Shukurov helped Azerbaijan to a 2-0 win against Northern Ireland in Group F, while Bosnia-Herzegovina remain top of Group G thanks to a 4-1 win against Liechtenstein.
Edin Dzeko's brace was complemented by Zvjezdan Misimovic and Vedad Ibisevic efforts in the first half, with Nicolas Hasler pulling one back after the break.
Martin Skrtel's own goal earned Greece a 1-0 win over Slovakia, putting them level on points with Bosnia heading into the final game.
Fedor Cernych and Saulius Mikoliunas helped Lithuania beat Latvia 2-0 in the other Group G encounter and England remain top of Group H after beating Montenegro 4-1 at Wembley.
Wayne Rooney and an Branko Boskovic own goal but the hosts ahead, only for Dejan Damjanovic to pull one back.
Andros Townsend and Daniel Sturridge ensured there was no comeback.
Ukraine remain hot on their heels after Andriy Yarmolenko's 64th-minute strike earned them a 1-0 win against Poland, while earlier Eugeniu Sidorenco's brace and a Viorel Frunza goal helped Moldova to a 3-0 victory in their qualifier against San Marino.
Finally, Spain need just a point from Tuesday's clash with Georgia to secure their place at the World Cup.
The reigning champions moved clear at the top of Group I after a 2-1 win at home to Belarus, courtesy of goals from Xavi and Alvaro Negredo. Sergei Kornilenko pulled one back for the visitors late on.
Two Radamel Falcao penalties saw Colombia come from three goals down to clinch their place at the World Cup with a 3-3 draw against 10-man Chile.
Nestor Pekerman's side reached the 27-point mark and secured their place in Brazil next year alongside Argentina, who had already qualified, while Chile will have to wait until the last round of matches.
During the first half, the Cafeteros started better, but Chile began to cause problems on the counterattack and in the 17th minute goalkeeper David Ospina felled striker Eduardo Vargas inside the box. Midfielder Arturo Vidal did not fail from the spot.
Chile took advantage of Colombia's confusion after the goal and five minutes later forward Alexis Sanchez doubled the advantage after great work from playmaker Jorge Valdivia.
Before the half-hour mark, Barcelona's Sanchez clinched the third for La Roja after he connected with Marcos Gonzalez's header near the six-yard box.
Colombia came out fighting in the second half and Chile needed goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to produce a string of saves to preserve their three-goal advantage.
However, in the 65th minute Chile midfielder Carlos Carmona saw his second yellow and three minutes later River Plate forward Teo Gutierrez scored to put his side back in it.
Visiting defender Francisco Silva pushed playmaker James Rodriguez inside the box in the 74th minute and striker Falcao pulled another one back from the spot.
Then with seven to go, keeper Bravo fouled James Rodriguez and Falcao, once again, converted the spot-kick to level the encounter and the the Barranquilla stadium exploded.
In Quito, Ecuador joined Chile on 25 points with a 1-0 triumph against Uruguay which put them on the brink of World Cup qualification.
Ecuador broke the deadlock when a long ball from Manchester United's Antonio Valencia was pushed into the net by Jefferson Montero near the half-hour mark.
It left Uruguay on 22 points and looking at a two-legged play-off against Jordan.
Venezuela's chances of going to Brazil were ended as they drew 1-1 in Paraguay in their final qualifier.
Ezequiel Lavezzi scored twice as an under-strength but already-qualified Argentina came from behind to beat Peru 3-1.
Coach Alejandro Sabella was without the likes of Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Fernando Gago and Javier Mascherano, and it appeared to be hurting them as Claudio Pizarro gave Peru the lead.
But Lavezzi netted twice before the break to turn things around and Rodrigo Palacio added a third at the start of the second half.
Peru coach Sergio Markarian fielded several debutants with an eye on the future but it was veteran striker Pizarro who opened the scoring after 20 minutes, beating Sergio Romero with an outstanding effort from outside the box.
The lead lasted just two minutes though as Lavezzi took advantage to sink the rebound when Diego Penny blocked a goalward header from Argentina defender Federico Fernandez.
And 10 minutes before the break the turnaround was complete when Palacio advanced down the left and found Paris St Germain striker Lavezzi for an easy finish.
Palacio connected with Marco Rojo's cross immediately after the restart to net Argentina's third, but despite struggling to contain the attacking talents of Palacio, Lavezzi and Sergio Aguero, the Peru defence did not concede again.
The last round will be played on Tuesday when Uruguay meet Argentina, Colombia visit Paraguay, Chile host Ecuador and Peru face Bolivia.
A last-gasp scissor-kick goal from Raul Jimenez gave Mexico a 2-1 win over Panama in their World Cup qualifier.
Mexico needed a victory to maintain their chances of progressing directly from the CONCACAF qualifying zone and must now wait for the last round of fixtures, when they face Costa Rica, to discover their fate.
Attacker Javier Hernandez set up forward Oribe Peralta to finish past goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and fire Mexico ahead five minutes before the break.
Near the hour mark, Hernandez had a golden opportunity to secure the win from the spot, but Penedo saved.
Forward Luis Tejada then silenced the Azteca stadium as he evaded the Mexico defence and beat Guillermo Ochoa to level 10 minutes from the end.
But parity lasted just five minutes before Jimenez, who had only just stepped off the bench, connected with a superb scissor kick to seal the match.
Honduras beat Costa Rica 1-0, giving them the chance to fight for direct qualification going into the final round.
Forward Jerry Bengtson connected with Roger Espinoza's long ball to score the winner near the hour mark.
"This is wonderful and I am enjoying it," he said. "Thank God I could score and give the triumph to my people.
The United States, who had already qualified, saw off Jamaica 2-0 thanks to goals from Graham Suzi and Jozy Altidore.
On Tuesday, Honduras visit Jamaica, Panama meet the USA and Costa Rica host Mexico.
Honduras are in prime position to join America and Costa Rica in sealing direct qualification as they occupy the third and final automatic spot, three points clear of Mexico.
The fourth-placed team faces a play-off against New Zealand, with Panama three points behind Mexico.
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NEWCASTLE UNITED 2013/14
CARDIFF CITY 1 NEWCASTLE 2 (Remy 2)
Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon, Tiote, Cabaye (86' Ben Arfa), Gouffran, Sissoko, Remy (71' Gutierrez), Cisse
Subs: Anita, Yanga-Mbiwa, Elliot, Sammy Ameobi, Dummett
EVERTON 3 NEWCASTLE 2 (Cabaye, Remy)
Krul, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa (46' Williamson), Coloccini, Santon, Tiote, Anita (69' Cisse), Ben Arfa (46' Cabaye), Sissoko, Gouffran, Remy
Subs: Elliot, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Dummett
NEWCASTLE 2 HULL CITY 3 (Remy 2)
Krul, Debuchy (86' Tiote), Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon, Cabaye (62' Gouffran), Anita, Sissoko, Ben Arfa, Cisse (73' Marveaux), Remy
Subs: Williamson, Elliot, Sammy Ameobi, Dummett
ASTON VILLA 1 NEWCASTLE 2 (Ben Arfra, Gouffran)
Krul, Debuchy, Coloccini, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon, Anita (74' Tiote), Cabaye (88' Sammy Ameobi), Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Remy (63' Gouffran), Cisse
Subs: Elliot, Marveaux, S Taylor, Dummett
NEWCASTLE 1 FULHAM 0 (Ben Arfa)
Krul, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon, Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Anita 65' (Cabaye), Marveaux 74' (Remy), Shola Ameobi 65' (Gouffran), Cisse
Subs: Gosling, Elliot, Sammy Ameobi, Dummett
NEWCASTLE 0 WEST HAM 0
Krul, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon, Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Anita, Marveaux 66' (Sammy Ameobi), Shola Ameobi, Cisse 72'
Subs: Gosling, Bigirimana, Elliot, Vuckic, Dummett
MAN CITY 4 NEWCASTLE 0
Krul, Debuchy, Coloccini, S Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa, Sissoko, Tiote, Gouffran 45+4' (Dummett), Ben Arfa 65' (Sammy Ameobi), Gutierrez 44' (Anita), Cisse
Subs: Elliot, Marveaux, Shola Ameobi, Obertan
NEWCASTLE 2 LEEDS UTD 0 (Cisse, Gouffran)
Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett, Gouffran (90' Vuckic), Anita (80' Gosling), Tiote, Marveaux, Sammy Ameobi, Cisse (71' Obertan).
Subs: Ben Arfa, Yanga-Mbiwa, Bigirimana, Alnwick
MORECAMBE 0 NEWCASTLE 2 (Shola Ameobi, Sammy Ameobi)
Elliot, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Good, Dummett, Bigirimana, Gosling, Marveaux 88' (Sissoko), Vuckic 46' (Shola Ameobi), Sammy Ameobi, Gouffran 71' (Ben Arfa)
Subs: Santon, Anita, Alnwick, Streete
Newcastle United Fixtures
Saturday October 19
12:45 Premier League
Newcastle United v Liverpool
Sunday October 27
13:30 Premier League
Sunderland v Newcastle United
Wednesday October 30
19:45 League Cup - 4th Rnd
Newcastle United v Manchester City
Saturday November 2
12:45 Premier League
Newcastle United v Chelsea
Sunday November 10
12:00 Premier League
Tottenham v Newcastle United