Belgium, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands have already qualified for next summer's World Cup finals and by tomorrow night more of Europe's representatives will be known.
With the winners of Groups A to E already settled, the suspense lies instead in Groups F to I, where an outcome is yet to be reached after the penultimate round of fixtures. Russia, leading Group F from Portugal by three points, effectively need a draw away in Azerbaijan to clinch top spot. They would likely still progress even with a defeat given they are seven goals better off than their nearest challengers although, with Portugal finishing at home to bottom side Luxembourg, Fabio Capello's side will likely push for a positive result to avoid potentially losing out to a final-day turkey shoot in Coimbra.
Bosnia-Herzegovina's vastly superior goal difference could be key to deciding Group G. The Bosnians, level on 22 points with Greece, conclude their fixtures with a fairly tricky tie away against Lithuania knowing a win, combined with a goal difference of +23 compared to the Greeks' +6, should be enough to get them on the plane to Rio. Any slip-up and Greece, who host minnows Liechtenstein in their last game, will be waiting to take advantage. Georgios Samaras and his team-mates may come to regret scoring only once in Liechtenstein when the Bosnians had rattled in eight there earlier in the campaign.
Goal difference is unlikely to be a factor in Group H. Any sort of win for England at home to Poland will see them finish as group leaders ahead of Ukraine, who finish up away to San Marino, although a draw or worse will likely leave Roy Hodgson's men in the play-offs with the Ukrainians expected to win their match comfortably.
Spain should clinch automatic qualification from Group I. Avoiding defeat at home to Georgia will be enough to stave off the threat of France, who are at home to Finland. With no obvious minnow in the group - bottom side Belarus gave Spain a fright on Friday - goals have been scarce, the two big guns scoring only 12 each in seven matches.
The eight-best runners up from the nine groups will then proceed to a play-off next month to determine the last four European qualifiers. As it stands, Greece, Portugal, Ukraine, France, Sweden, Iceland, Croatia and Turkey will probably fill those places, with the second finishers in the remarkably tight Group B missing out. That, currently, would be Bulgaria, although only a point separates them from Denmark, Armenia and the Czech Republic.
The picture is crystallising at a slower pace in other continents. No African country has yet clinched their place at the finals, although this week sees the first leg of the final play-off round, with the return matches taking place next month. With the 10-team draw seeded, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Algeria, Nigeria and Tunisia will be expected to make it to Brazil at the expense of Egypt, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Senegal and Ethiopia.
By comparison, Asia's qualifying campaign is almost complete. Australia, South Korea, Iran and Japan have already made it through, while Jordan beat Uzbekistan on penalties for the right to play the fifth-best team from South America over a two-legged play-off.
As things stand, Uruguay, semi-finalists in the last World Cup, look like being Jordan's opponents. Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani et al have had a disappointing campaign and need to win their final match at home to Argentina and hope there is a decisive outcome between Chile and Ecuador in Santiago if they are to have a chance of qualifying automatically. Conspiracy theorists will not give them much hope, however, given a draw will be enough for both Chile and Ecuador to join hosts Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia as South America's representatives at the finals.
From the North, Central America and Caribbean region, it looks like Honduras will be joining Costa Rica and the United States at the finals. Emilio Izaguirre and his team-mates need a point away to Jamaica to be sure of the third qualifying berth, while a defeat could open the door for Mexico who could pip them on goal difference with a win away to Costa Rica. Whoever finishes fourth - likely to be Mexico or possibly Panama - will take on New Zealand, winner of the Oceania group, in a two-legged play-off.