Final Euro places confirmed

Russia, Sweden, Turkey and Portugal all books their trips to Euro 2008.

From Russia with love: Guus Hiddink’s men learn of their qualification [AFP]

Russia joined Sweden and Turkey in qualifying for Euro 2008 with victories in the final round of qualifying, while Portugal advanced with a 0-0 draw against Finland.

England’s 3-2 loss at home to Croatia kept it from qualifying from next year’s European Championship, and allowed the Russians to leapfrog them.

The Russians beat Andorra 1-0 after Dmitry Sychev scored the winning goal in the 39th minute, meeting substitute Dmitry Torbinskiy’s cross from the right to head past goalkeeper Koldo Alvarez.

Russia finished with 24 points, one more than England.

The Croats had already advanced from Group E.

Russia should have put it away before halftime, but Andorra goalkeeper Koldo Alvarez stopped Denis Kolodin’s penalty shot.

Andorra, which was outscored 42-2 in 12 matches, finished last in Group A with zero points.

Turkish delight: Well, it had to be said [AFP]

Swedish success

Meanwhile, Marcus Allback scored a first-minute goal to put the Swedes on the way to a 2-1 victory over Latvia in Group F.

Spain, which had already qualified from the group, finished at the top by beating Northern Ireland 1-0.

While Turkey defeated Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0 off a 43rd-minute goal by Nihat Kahveci in Istanbul.

The 2002 World Cup semifinalists advance along with defending European champion Greece, which had already guaranteed a place and finished at the top of Group C after winning at Hungary 2-1.

Defending champions

Greece goes to Euro 2008 with the best qualifying record of 10 victories, one loss and one draw.

Turkey’s narrow victory was enough to edge out Norway, which won at Malta 4-1 helped by a first-half hat trick by Steffen Iversen.

Greece finished with 31 points, followed by Turkey with 24 and Norway with 23.

Portugal needed only to avoid defeat against visiting Finland to make it
along with Group A winner Poland.

Poland topped the standings with a 2-2 draw against Serbia and finished with 28 points to Portugal’s 27.

Finland had 24 points and Serbia, which has one game still to play after Saturday’s postponement of its match against Kazakhstan, has 21.

Italians to the top

Italy finished at the top of Group B with a 3-1 victory over the Faeroe Islands, and France finished second after a 2-2 draw with Ukraine in Kiev.

The Czech Republic finished ahead of Germany in Group D by winning 2-0 at Cyprus with goals by Daniel Pudil and Jan Koller.

The Germans were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Wales and finished two points behind.

Four days after guaranteeing a place in the final tournament with an unimpressive 1-0 victory over Luxembourg, the Netherlands tumbled to a 2-1 loss at Belarus.

Vitaliy Bulyga and Vladimir Korytko put the home side ahead and Rafael van der Vaart’s reply for the Dutch came with only a minute to go.

The Dutch team’s poor performances have led to calls for coach Marco van Basten to be fired.

Romania finished at the top of Group G after a 6-1 win over Albania.

In the end the following 14 teams have qualified to to join co-hosts Austria and Switzerland in next year’s championship.

Groups winners: Poland, Italy, Greece, Czech Republic, Croatia, Spain and Romania.

Group runners up: Portugal, France, Turkey, Germany, Russia, Sweden and the Netherlands.

The draw for the four group stages will take place in Lucerne, Switzerland, on December 2.

Source : News Agencies


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