Captain Virgil van Dijk netted a second-half winner as the Netherlands beat neighbours Belgium 1-0 on Sunday to ensure top spot in their Nations League group and a place in next year's finals tournament.
Van Dijk powered home a header from a corner in the 73rd minute at the Amsterdam Arena on Sunday to ensure the Dutch finished runaway winners in League A Group Four.
They finished with 16 points, six more than Belgium who had a chance to leapfrog their neighbours, and take first place, but needed to win by three goals or more on Sunday to do so.
Any hopes of a goal feast were quickly stymied, however, as the two sides effectively cancelled each other out in a tight tactical battle. The Dutch pressing game frustrated Belgian efforts at building up attacks, while a five-man defence for the visitors meant there was little room for the home strikers.
It meant the winner came from a simple setpiece with Van Dijk leaping over his marker, the 18-year-old Zeno Debast, to give Louis van Gaal his 37th victory in his three spells in charge of the national side, equalling the record for a Dutch coach held by Dick Advocaat.
Nations League holders France lost 2-0 to Denmark in their final Group 1 game but salvaged their place in the top tier at the end of a dismal campaign on Sunday.
Didier Deschamps' side, who will face Denmark in Group D at the World Cup in November, finished third in the Nations League standings with five points from six games after Kasper Dolberg and Andreas Skov Olsen scored first-half goals for the hosts.
"We had a lot of chances, but we were not aggressive enough and made several technical mistakes," Deschamps said.
"We had a young team and they don't have the experience of a high level. Tonight was a reality check.
"I'm not worried for the World Cup because we'll get most of our injured players back in time. We don't however think we're stronger than the others and we know it's going to be a big fight."
Austria were relegated to League B after a 3-1 home defeat in Croatia left them bottom of the group on four points.
Croatia qualified for the final four with 13 points, one ahead of Denmark, who burst into life against France after being dominated in the first 20 minutes.
World champions France, who had several first-choice players out injured including Paul Pogba, Karim Benzema and Hugo Lloris, were a far cry from their best and Deschamps will be crossing fingers that all have recovered for the tournament in Qatar.
Turkey were already guaranteed promotion from League C, but were still embarrassed by a 2-1 defeat to the Faroe Islands.
The Faroes led 2-0 through Viljormur Davidsen and Joan Edmundsson before Serdar Gurler's late consolation for the side ranked 83 places higher in Fifa’s world rankings.
With additional reporting from AFP