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June 12, 2019

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Sweden pays penalty in Spain loss

Sergio Ramos and Alvaro Morata both scored penalties as Spain got the better of Sweden while the Republic of Ireland and Poland continued their strong starts in qualifying for Euro 2020.

Three-time European champion Spain ran out a 3-0 winner in their Group F encounter with the Swedes at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, recovering from the early frustration of seeing a Rodrigo Moreno effort wrongly disallowed for offside.

They won a penalty just after the hour when Sebastian Larsson blocked a Marco Asensio cross with his arm, and captain Ramos converted the spot-kick. It was the Real Madrid defender’s 20th goal for his country.

Morata, who had come on as a second-half substitute, won another penalty late on when he was brought down in the box by Filip Helander, and he duly netted from 12 yards too.

Striker Mikel Oyarzabal wrapped up the win with three minutes left. The result means Luis Enrique’s side have the maximum 12 points from four matches and are five points ahead of Sweden and Romania at the top of the six-team section. The top two teams in each group qualify for the finals.

Romania, who hosts Spain next in September, eased to a 4-0 win in Malta. Norway, whose only appearance at the Euros so far came in 2000, got their first win of the campaign as they beat the Faroe Islands 2-0 away thanks to a brace from Bjorn Johnsen.

Ireland is top of Group D with 10 points from four games after again doing the minimum to get the better of minnows Gibraltar. Mick McCarthy’s team won 1-0 on the rock in March and won 2-0 against the same opponents this time.

They went ahead in Dublin when David McGoldrick’s wayward shot went in thanks to a wicked deflection off Joseph Chipolina. Robbie Brady then wrapped it up at the death.

“If the remit for me was to get 10 points, which I’m sure it was, job’s done,” McCarthy said.

Ireland is five points ahead of Denmark, with whom they drew in Copenhagen at the weekend.

Czech leads Group A

The Danes have a game in hand and recorded a 5-1 win over Georgia, with Kasper Dolberg of Ajax scoring twice. Christian Eriksen scored a penalty, while Yussuf Poulsen and Martin Braithwaite also netted.

Poland has maximum points after four games in Group G, with Krzysztof Piatek and Robert Lewandowski both netted in a 4-0 defeat of Israel.

Austria boosted their chances of qualifying as Marko Arnautovic bagged a brace in a 4-1 victory in North Macedonia, while Slovenia romped to a 5-0 win in Latvia.

The Czech Republic joined England on six points at the top of Group A thanks to a 3-0 defeat of Montenegro, although they have now played a game more than Gareth Southgate’s side.

In the same group, Kosovo registered their first win in a Euro or a World Cup qualifier, coming from behind to beat Bulgaria 3-2 in Sofia thanks to Elbasan Rashani’s injury-time strike.

Ukraine is six points clear at the top of Group B after beating Luxembourg 1-0, while Aleksandar Mitrovic scored twice and Luka Jovic got one goal as Serbia defeated Lithuania 4-1.

Newly crowned UEFA Nations League winner and reigning European champion, Portugal will resume their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign in Serbia in September sitting eight points behind Ukraine.


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