PARIS, Nov 14 (AFP)
Germany thrashed Ukraine 4-1 in their European zone play-off in Dortmund on Wednesday night to move into the World Cup finals with Turkey, Belgium and Slovenia also earning their ticket.
Now 29 of the 32 places at the finals are known with just the winners of the Republic Ireland versus Iran play-off, a direct qualification from South America plus a South America/Oceania play-off winner to be named.
Turkey went into overdrive to win 5-0 at their intimidating Ali Sami Yen stadium for a 6-0 aggregate victory and their first finals appearance since
Belgium thanked a Marc Wilmots penalty in the 86th minute for their 1-0 victory over nine-man Czech Republic in Prague for a 2-0 aggregate win.
Little Slovenia, who only won independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, drew 1-1 with Romania in Bucharest for a 3-2 aggregate win for their first ever World Cup appearance.
The Germany match, however, captured most people's interest.
Germany, or West Germany as they were known from the end of the Second World War until unification in 1990, have played in every World Cup finals except 1930 and 1950 but were on the threshold of failing to qualify for the first time.
They dispelled fears in emphatic style early on, going 3-0 up after a quarter-hour to easily take their place in the finals for the 15th time.
After just four minutes the Ukrainian defence cracked when Bernd Schneider whipped over a cross from the right and Michael Ballack sent a bullet header arrowing into the net.
Ballack's fifth goal of the long World Cup qualifying campaign warmed up the 52,000 crowd in the packed Westfalenstadion - but it was just the start.
Another Leverkusen man, Oliver Neuville, suspended for the first game, made it 2-0 after 11 minutes when he scored from close range following a goalbound header from Hertha Berlin's Marko Rehmer.
Just four minutes later Rehmer did get his name on the scoresheet, making it 3-0 with a header from a Neuville corner to claim his fourth international goal.
Six minutes after the restart the German machine was back to its well-oiled best as Ballack, lurking in the six yard box, headed the fourth.
Schevchenko pulled one back at the death for Ukraine, rounding keeper Oliver Kahn, but it was scant consolation.
Belgium went through amid controversial scenes in the final minutes of the match. Wilmots converted a penalty given after a foul on Gert Verheyen by Marek Jankulowski.
Pavel Nedved was sent off a minute later after a second yellow card for what appeared to be dissent and Milan Baros also had his marching orders to leave the Czechs reeling with just nine players on the field.
Turkey thrashed Austria for their World Cup berth. Goals from Yildiray Basturk, Hakan Sukur and Okan Buruk in the first half followed by two more from Arif Erdem late on earned them victory in this European zone play-off.
Slovenia booked their place in next summer's World Cup finals with a gutsy 1-1 draw in Bucharest.
The Romanians were quarter-finalists in 1994 but have since fallen from grace and they were unable to pull back the deficit from Saturday's first leg in Ljubljana.
Romania's AC Milan defender Cosmin Contra equalized 10 minutes after Slovenia had opened the scoring through Portsmouth winger Mladen Rudonja in the 55th minute