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Euro qualifiers: Spain thrash Romania; Denmark through

November 19, 2019 09:35 IST

Spain's Gerard Moreno celebrates scoring their second goal against Romania in their Euro 2020 Qualifier Group F match at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid on Monday

IMAGE: Spain's Gerard Moreno celebrates scoring their second goal against Romania in their Euro 2020 Qualifier Group F match at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid on Monday. Photograph: Javier Barbancho/Reuters

Spain rounded off their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 5-0 win at home to Romania on Tuesday amid doubts over Robert Moreno's future as national team coach with media reports swirling that Luis Enrique could return to the role.

Fabian Ruiz put Spain in front after eight minutes while forward Gerard Moreno struck twice and then forced an own goal from Romania's Adrian Rus before the break, with Mikel Oyarzabal hitting the fifth in second-half stoppage time.

Moreno's position was called into question before kick off as several media reports said he would not take charge of the side at next year's European Championship.

 

Reports suggested Luis Enrique could make a shock return, having left the role in June after his daughter Xana was diagnosed with cancer and tragically passed away in September.

Moreno, Luis Enrique's long-time assistant coach who succeeded him in June, did not give the usual post-match news conference or speak to any media, while players were unable to confirm whether or not he was going to continue in the role.

"In the end we can't do anything, we just have to focus on training and doing as best as we can. We support the coach and his staff," said double scorer Moreno.

Midfielder Saul Niguez added: "We don't know anything, I can't speculate. Robert's work has been reflected on the pitch and we're all happy with him."

Romania coach Cosmin Contra confirmed after the game that he would leave his role when his contract expires in December.

Spain had sealed their place at the finals a month ago and clinched top spot in Group F with a 7-0 win at home to Malta on Friday but they still made a flying start and took the lead when midfielder Fabian Ruiz volleyed home in the eighth minute.

Romania had no chance of qualifying from the group but were already assured of a playoff place via the UEFA Nations League.

They spurned a clear chance to level when George Puscas won the ball back in Spain's area but he was thwarted by keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and his side were punished when Gerard Moreno glanced a header into the net to double the hosts' lead.

Forward Moreno put Spain further ahead in the 43rd and sparked the fourth goal when his attempted cross was diverted into the net by Romania defender Adrian Rus for an own goal.

His side appeared to relax after the break although Alvaro Morata hit the woodwork and substitute Mikel Oyarzabal added a fifth goal in stoppage time with a superb low strike from outside the area.

Unbeaten Spain ended the campaign with 26 points from 10 games, five points ahead of Sweden who also qualified for next year's tournament. Romania finished fourth with 14.

Italy put nine past Armenia to finish with perfect record

Italy's Riccardo Orsolini celebrates scoring their eighth goal with teammate Federico Chiesa during their Euro 2020 Qualifier Group J match at Stadio Renzo Barbera in Palermo on Monday

IMAGE: Italy's Riccardo Orsolini celebrates scoring their eighth goal with teammate Federico Chiesa during their Euro 2020 Qualifier Group J match at Stadio Renzo Barbera in Palermo on Monday. Photograph: Ciro De Luca/Reuters

Italy thumped hapless Armenia 9-1 on Monday to complete their Euro 2020 qualifying group with a perfect record and extend their record-breaking run to 11 successive international wins as they looked forward to next year's tournament.

Twenty-year-old Nicolo Zaniolo scored a brace, his first international goals, while Ciro Immobile also scored twice as Italy, already qualified, completed Group J with 30 points from their 10 games.

Nicolo Barella, Alessio Romagnoli, Jorginho, debutant Riccardo Orsolini and Federico Chiesa shared the other goals.

Italy also beat the United States in a friendly before the group stage began and their winning run is the longest in their 109-year history.

Armenia finished fifth with 10 points and were eliminated as they cannot qualify through the playoffs.

"I think we have the basis to become a great team for many years," said coach Roberto Mancini. "All of our young players are improving - playing international football adds to the quality they already possess.

"We have got six months to prepare for the European Championship and it is going to be difficult to decide who to leave out of the final 23."

Italy have scored nine goals or more in a game on three occasions -- in a friendly against France in 1920 which they won 9-4 and in Olympic Games matches against Egypt in 1932, which they won 11-3, and the United States in 1948 when they won 9-0.

Mancini made seven changes from Friday's 3-0 win in Bosnia and his new-look side were two goals ahead inside 10 minutes.

Immobile headed in Chiesa's cross after eight minutes and one minute later the Lazio forward turned provider when he ran forward and slipped the ball to Zaniolo who scored with a shot between goalkeeper Arma Airapetyan's legs.

Armenia nearly pulled one back when Aleksandr Karapetyan intercepted Leonardo Bonucci's back pass and saw his lob bounce off the bar before Italy quickly added two more.

Bonucci sent Barella through and he dinked the ball over Airapetyan for the third before Immobile ran on to Zaniolo's through ball and rounded the beleaguered keeper for the fourth after only 33 minutes.

Zaniolo added a fifth in the 64th, Romagnoli scored from a rebound eight minutes later and Jorginho converted a penalty in the 75th minute before substitute Orsolini headed in Chiesa's cross to make it 8-0.

Edgar Babayan netted a consolation goal for Armenia with a long-range shot before Chiesa finally got on the scoresheet with by heading in an Orsolini cross.

In the other games, Finland, who guaranteed second place on Friday to qualify for their first major tournament, lost 2-1 in Greece while Bosnia won 3-0 away to Liechtenstein.

Bosnia could still qualify through the playoffs in March.

Denmark seal Euro 2020 place with Ireland draw

Denmark's Kasper Schmeichel celebrates with teammates as Republic of Ireland players look dejected at the end of their Euro 2020 Qualifier Group D match Action at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland

IMAGE: Denmark's Kasper Schmeichel celebrates with teammates as Republic of Ireland players look dejected at the end of their Euro 2020 Qualifier Group D match Action at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. Photograph: John Sibley/Images via Reuters

Denmark were pushed to the limit but got the point they needed to seal a place at Euro 2020 as Group D runners-up with a hard-fought 1-1 draw in Ireland on Monday that consigned the hosts to the playoffs for the third successive tournament.

A 73rd minute Martin Braithwaite goal set the 1992 European champions on their way to celebrating qualification in Dublin for the second tournament in a row after a 5-1 win almost two years ago to the day had sent them to last year's World Cup.

But they had to survive a late onslaught when Ireland, the better side throughout, scored only their seventh goal in eight qualifiers when Matt Doherty headed home after 85 minutes though they could not get the win they needed to qualify automatically.

"We were terrible, we just couldn't get going... But I don't really care right now," Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel said after celebrating with the fans they will play in front of next year as Copenhagen, like Dublin, is among the host cities.

"It means the world because we're a very small nation and the chance of us playing home games in a major tournament are so small. To be able to give our fans that kind of experience is amazing, it's unique," he added on Sky Sports.

While no other team in contention across the 10 groups had hit the net as infrequently, Ireland possessed one of the best defensive records, so chances were unsurprisingly few and far between in the first half.

It took 34 minutes for a shot on target and when the ball fell fortuitously to an open Conor Hourihane on the edge of the Denmark box, the Aston Villa midfielder should have done better than stroke the ball straight at Schmeichel.

Denmark, who lost midfielder Thomas Delaney and striker Andreas Cornelius to injuries in the first 30 minutes, were a shadow of the side that ran riot in Dublin two years earlier but their opponents were far more disciplined this time.

Having drawn four of the other five meetings with Ireland in the last two years, the unbeaten Danes appeared happy to settle for another stalemate until Braithwaite ghosted in behind Doherty to nudge his side into the lead against the run of play.

The otherwise impressive Doherty's first international goal set up a grandstand finish but that was all the home side could muster as the Danes finished three points ahead of the Irish in second place to join group winners Switzerland in the finals.

The Swiss beat Gibraltar 6-1 to clinch top spot by a point.

Ireland must wait until the playoffs in March to see if they can follow suit via a route they have successfully navigated in the last two European Championships.

"I said before the game if the players give me everything and leave it on the pitch, I've got to take what happens and I think they left everything and a bit more to be quite honest," Ireland manager Mick McCarthy told Irish broadcaster RTE.

"I've just said to the lads, play like that (in the playoff) and we'll win it."

Switzerland qualify for Euro 2020 with win over Gibraltar

Switzerland's Loris Benito celebrates with Granit Xhaka and teammates after scoring their fourth goal against Gibraltar in their Euro 2020 Qualifier Group D match at Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar on Monday

IMAGE: Switzerland's Loris Benito celebrates with Granit Xhaka and teammates after scoring their fourth goal against Gibraltar in their Euro 2020 Qualifier Group D match at Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar on Monday. Photograph: Jon Nazca/Reuters

Switzerland qualified for Euro 2020 with an easy 6-1 win away to Gibraltar in their final Group D qualifying match on Monday with Cedric Itten scoring twice.

The Swiss topped the group with 17 points, one ahead of Denmark who also qualified.

Needing a draw to qualify, the Swiss went ahead after 10 minutes through Itten, who had scored on his debut on Friday to give them a 1-0 win over Georgia. Ruben Vargas got to the byline and sent over a low cross which the Gibraltar defence failed to intercept and Itten tapped in.

Vargas himself headed the second from Loris Benito's cross five minutes after halftime and Christian Fassnacht added the third seven minutes later after the Gibraltar defence failed to deal with Michael Lang's cross.

Gibraltar pulled one back in the 74th minute when a long throw was headed on at the near post, the ball bobbled around and Reece Styche prodded it in.

But the celebrations did not last long as Switzerland went straight down the other end from the re-start and Benito added a fourth.

Itten took his tally to three in two internationals when he headed the fifth and provided the pass for Granit Xhaka to slot home the sixth as Gibraltar tired.

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