Unbeaten Italy seal Euro 2016 qualification

Former World Cup winners beat Azerbaijan - their sixth win in nine games - to book automatic berth for tournament.

    Unbeaten Italy seal Euro 2016 qualification
    Italy have six wins and three draws in the qualifying campaign [AP]

    Italy qualified for the Euro 2016 finals when they won 3-1 in Azerbaijan to make sure of one of the two automatic qualifying places from Group H.

    The Italians, who were runners-up to champions Spain at the 2012 tournament, secured their place in next year's finals in France by maintaining their unbeaten run in the group with six wins and three draws from their nine matches.

    They have 21 points, followed by Norway on 19 and Croatia on 14, with the Croatians playing Bulgaria later on Saturday.

    Teams already qualified
    Austria
    Belgium
    Czech Republic
    England
    Iceland
    Italy
    Northern Ireland
    Portugal
    Spain
    Switzerland
    Wales
    France (hosts)

    Elsewhere, two second-half goals led Turkey to a 2-0 win over the Czech Republic to keep alive the away side's chances of making the tournament in France next summer.

    The already-qualified Czechs squandered an opportunity to overtake Iceland for top spot in Group A but could not make their early possession pay in a mostly drab game in which neither side generated many scoring chances until late.

    Turkey, needing four points from their last two games to clinch a play-off spot, broke through in the 62nd minute after Czech defender Filip Novak conceded a penalty for a foul on Serdar Aziz in the box.

    Selcuk Inan converted the spot kick for the Turks, who doubled their lead in the 80th minute when Hakan Calhanoglu beat his marker and slotted home after latching onto Ara Turan's lofted pass into the penalty area.

    The Czechs, playing without a number of regular players, including goalkeeper Petr Cech, remain in second place behind Iceland in Group A.

    Either Turkey or the Netherlands - who beat Kazakhstan 2-0 - will finish third after Tuesday's final qualifiers.

    Wales ended a 57-year wait to qualify for a major tournament despite a 2-0 defeat in Bosnia which kept alive the Balkan nation's hopes of joining them at Euro 2016.

    The result left the Welsh second in Group B on 18 points from nine games, two behind Belgium who also qualified, and four ahead of third-placed Bosnia.

    Results:

    Iceland 2 - 2 Latvia

    Kazakhstan 1 - 2 Netherlands

    Czech Republic 0 - 2 Turkey

    Andorra 1 - 4 Belgium

    Bosnia-Herzegovina 2 - 0 Wales

    Israel 1 - 2 Cyprus

    Azerbaijan 1 - 3 Italy

    Norway 2 - 0 Malta

    Croatia 3 - 0 Bulgaria

    SOURCE: Reuters


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