Paris (AFP) – Rodrigo Moreno fired Spain into Euro 2020 with a last-gasp equaliser in Sweden which while the Republic of Ireland’s chances of reaching the finals are in the balance after they fell 2-0 in Switzerland.
Spain became the sixth team to qualify for next summer’s tournament thanks to Rodrigo, who came off the bench to score a dramatic injury-time leveller in a 1-1 draw in Stockholm, sparking wild celebrations on the touchline.
Robert Moreno’s side are top of Group F on 20 points after drawing their last two matches. They are five ahead of Sweden and six above Romania, who missed the chance to take second spot when Norway’s Alexander Sorloth snatched a late 1-1 draw in Bucharest.
However it was a far from vintage display from Spain, who started brightly but faded as the match wore on against the lively hosts, who were distraught after missing out on a famous victory right at the death.
A great night was tempered slightly by the loss of goalkeeper David de Gea to injury in the second half, although that will worry his club Manchester United more ahead their meeting with Premier League leaders Liverpool this weekend.
In Group D, Haris Seferovic’s early strike and Shane Duffy’s late own goal kept Switzerland’s hopes of automatic qualification alive with a 2-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland.
The win in Geneva means the Swiss are just a point behind group leaders Ireland and Denmark with two matches remaining in their campaign, compared to just the one for the Irish, who host the Danes on November 18 needing a win to guarantee qualification.
“It’s a cup final. Beat Denmark to reach Euro 2020. I would have taken that at the start and I’ll take it now,” said the Republic’s coach Mick McCarthy.
The Swiss, who also have the better of the head-to-head record with the Irish as the two teams drew 1-1 in September, take on group minnows Georgia and Gibraltar in their final two games.
– Finland edge towards history –
Finland inched closer to qualifying for their first ever European Championships after Teemu Pukki took his qualifying tally to seven in eight matches with a double that helped Finland sweep aside Armenia 3-0 in Turku.
Fredrik Jensen gave the Finns a 31th minute lead. Norwich City striker Pukki then scored just after the hour and got his second two minutes from the end with a neat dinked finish.