Sunday, April 22, 2018

Euro 2016 Qualifying Review: Austria seal finals spot as Rooney makes history

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 8 Sep 2015


Austria sealed their place at Euro 2016 with an impressive 4-1 win away to Sweden on Tuesday.

David Alaba coolly chipped home from the penalty spot after Kim Kallstrom had felled Zlatko Junuzovic inside the area, and Martin Harnik doubled the advantage shortly before the interval with a far-post header.

Marc Janko made it three as he rolled the ball confidently past Andreas Isaksson after being played in by Alaba, before Harnik added a fourth in the closing stages just before Zlatan Ibrahimovic bagged a consolation.

The victory – Austria’s seventh in a row in Group G – ended Sweden’s 12-year unbeaten run in home European Championship qualifiers and saw them join France and England at next year’s finals.

In Group E, Wayne Rooney made England history at Wembley as Roy Hodgson’s side defeated Switzerland 2-0.

Xherdan Shaqiri was foiled well by Joe Hart as Switzerland threatened during the first half, but substitute Harry Kane put England ahead as he fired home following Luke Shaw’s cut-back.

Rooney threatened Yann Sommer’s goal on two occasions, but his 50th goal for England came via the penalty spot late on, as the Manchester United skipper became his country’s all-time leading scorer.

It took Spain just eight minutes to take the lead in their 1-0 Group C win over Macedonia, albeit in fortuitous style, as Juan Mata’s looping cross came back off the crossbar, only to cross the line after deflecting off goalkeeper Tome Pacovski.

The reigning champions controlled possession thereafter and saw both Diego Costa and David Silva come close, while Dani Carvajal also hit the woodwork, but Vicente del Bosque’s side are now on the brink of qualification.

Slovakia remain second in the group, but will have to wait to book their place in France after they were unable to defeat Ukraine, who held on for a 0-0 draw to keep their slim hopes of an automatic spot alive.

Russia took advantage of Sweden’s defeat to leapfrog them in Group G into second as they breezed past 10-man Liechtenstein 7-0, Artem Dzyuba netting four times. 

Montenegro moved a point behind Sweden in the group thanks to a 2-0 win over Moldova. Stevan Jovetic’s cross-cum-shot was turned in after just nine minutes, with Stefan Savic claiming the final contact, and Fatos Beqiraj doubled the lead in the second half.

Elsewhere, there was a moment of history for San Marino in their defeat to Lithuania. Fiodor Cernych gave the home side an early lead but, just minutes after goalkeeper Giedrius Arlauskis had been sent off, San Marino scored the first goal of qualifying through Matteo Vitaioli – their first away from home in the tournament for 14 years.

But Lukas Spalvis denied the visitors a famous draw as he made it 2-1 in injury time to win it for Lithuania.

Meanwhile, Belarus saw off Luxembourg 2-0 thanks to a Mikhail Gordeichuk double, while Robert Beric helped Slovenia edge Estonia 1-0 to move back to within three points of second-placed Switzerland in Group E.


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