Friday 15 November, 2019

Spain qualify for Euro 2020 with stoppage-time goal

Sweden's Marcus Berg scores the opening goal during the Euro 2020 Group F qualification football match against Spain at Friends Arena in Solna, Stockholm, Sweden, on Tuesday Oct. 15, 2019. (Anders Wiklund/ TT via AP).

Sweden's Marcus Berg scores the opening goal during the Euro 2020 Group F qualification football match against Spain at Friends Arena in Solna, Stockholm, Sweden, on Tuesday Oct. 15, 2019. (Anders Wiklund/ TT via AP).

With an equaliser in stoppage time, Spain earned the point they needed against Sweden to qualify for the 2020 European Championship on Tuesday, while Ireland missed their chance to seal a spot in next year's tournament by losing to Switzerland.

Already qualified Italy routed Liechtenstein 5-0 for a record-equaling ninth straight win.

After conceding a late equaliser against Norway on Saturday to miss an opportunity to qualify in advance, Spain salvaged a 1-1 draw in their visit to Sweden with a goal by Rodrigo two minutes into injury time at Friends Arena.

Sweden remained second in Group F, five points behind Spain and one point in front of third-place Romania, which squandered a chance to move past Sweden after conceding a stoppage-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Norway at home. The Norwegians stayed alive after their second consecutive last-gasp draw. Romania and Sweden will meet in the next round.

Marcus Berg scored early in the second half to give Sweden the lead, but Rodrigo's late goal from close range kept Spain from losing their first qualifying match — for either the European Championship or the World Cup — since 2014. It also extended Spain's streak of scoring at least a goal to 38 consecutive matches.

Spain were without captain Sergio Ramos because of a yellow-card suspension. The central defender on Saturday played his 168th match with the national team, surpassing the record previously set by Iker Casillas.

Spain goalkeeper David de Gea had to be substituted in the 60th minute because of an apparent muscle injury.

IRELAND'S MISSED CHANCE

A win would have secured Ireland a berth at Euro 2020, but a 2-0 loss to Switzerland means they will need to beat Denmark in their final match to guarantee a place in next year's tournament.

Switzerland regained control of their qualifying destiny with the home victory in the tight Group D, moving one point behind group leaders Ireland and Denmark.

The Swiss and Denmark both have two games next month — including against last-place minnow Gibraltar — while Ireland have only the must-win home clash with the Danes.

PERFECT ITALY

An inexperienced Italy side cruised to victory over Liechtenstein to equal the record number of consecutive wins the Azzurri set between 1938-39.

Andrea Belotti scored twice while Federico Bernardeschi, Alessio Romagnoli and Stephan El Shaarawy added a goal apiece to help Italy to their eighth straight win in qualifying for Euro 2020.

Having already qualified with Saturday's 2-0 victory over Greece, Italy made 10 changes to their team on Tuesday.

ARMENIA FALLS

Armenia's hopes of qualifying for a major tournament for the first time as an independent nation took a hit after a 3-0 loss at Finland.

A win could have allowed the Armenians, who played without the injured Henrikh Mkhitaryan, to leapfrog Finland for second place in Group J. They can still qualify, but only with victories in their last two games against Greece and at Italy.

Finland are guaranteed at least a playoff place because they won their group in the UEFA Nations League, as  Bosnia and Herzegovina, which lost 2-1 at already eliminated Greece but also remain with chances of qualifying directly for Euro 2020.

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