Russia and Slovakia join the party

Date published: Monday 12th October 2015 10:46

Russia

Russia and Slovakia confirmed their places at next year’s European Championship finals after victories in the final round of qualifying matches on Monday night.

First-half goals from Oleg Kuzmin and Aleksandr Kokorin gave the Russians a 2-0 win over Montenegro in Moscow which sealed their second-place finish behind runaway Group G leaders Austria.

Sweden head into the play-offs despite Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Erkan Zengin giving them a 2-0 win over Moldova in Solna.

Meanwhile Austria celebrated the end of a stunning qualifying campaign with their ninth win in 10 games as two goals from Marc Janko and one from Marko Arnautovic saw them ease past Liechtenstein 3-0 in Vienna.

Slovakia had to survive a late scare in Luxembourg to book their place in the finals as Group C runners-up behind winners Spain.

Starting the night knowing victory would almost certainly be enough to see them pip rivals Ukraine, Slovakia eased into a 3-0 lead inside the opening half-hour with goals from Marek Hamsik, Adam Nemec and Robert Mak.

But minnows Luxembourg hit back with second half goals from Mario Mutsch and Lars Gerson before an injury time effort from Hamsik settled the visitors’ nerves and sealed a 4-2 win.

As it happened, Slovakia’s nerves were unfounded as an early Mario Gaspar goal gave Spain a 1-0 win over the Ukrainians in Kiev, sending Mykhaylo Fomenko’s men into the play-offs.

Also in Group C, already-eliminated pair Belarus and Macedonia ground out a goalless draw in Borisov.

Roy Hodgson’s youthful England line-up wrapped up a 100 per cent record in their qualifying campaign with a straight-forward 3-0 win over Lithuania in Vilnius.

In a game marred by crowd trouble, Ross Barkley opened the scoring for England just before the half-hour and a Giedrius Arlauskis own goal had the visitors well in command before half-time.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain netted the third for England in the 62nd minute to complete a highly impressive qualifying performance.

With their own qualifying place already secured in second place behind England, Switzerland had to wait until injury time to break the deadlock against Estonia in Tallinn, a Ragnar Klavan own goal handing the visitors victory.

And Slovenia confirmed their place in the play-offs with an underwhelming 2-0 win over San Marino in Serravalle with second half goals from Bojan Perec and Nejc Pecnik.

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