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Euro 2020

UEFA 2020 Euro qualifiers: Portugal, Switzerland and Denmark qualify. First-time European entrants Kosovo bow out.

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Portugal qualified for the UEFA 2020 Euros when they beat Luxembourg 0-2 at the Josy-Barthel stadium on Monday night. The Iberians moved to the second place of Group B with 17 points, a clear 3 points ahead of Serbia after the win. Cristiano Ronaldo got his 99th career goal in Portugal colors when he scored his team’s second goal just four minutes before close. Earlier Bernardo Silva’s ball over the top allowed Bruno Fernandes to open the scoring for the Portuguese in the 39th minute of play. Ukraine, the other team to qualify from the cluster a month ago. held Serbia to a 2-2 draw on the back of an injury time equalizer in the 93rd minute through Artem Besyedin The Ukrainian maintain their top spot with 20 points from their 8 games. The Serbs, 3rd placed in the Group with 14 points, will have another chance to advance via the Nations League playoffs next March.

Switzerland raced to the top of Group D after blanking minions Gibraltar 1-6 and ensuring a berth in the 2020 Euros. Cedric Itten’s double strike and goals from Ruben Vargas, Christian Fassnacht, Loris Benito and Granit Xhaka completed the rout of the islanders. Gibraltar’s only goal came from Reece Styche, only their third in the qualifying campaign which they finished with 8 defeats from their 8 matches. The win left the Swiss on 17 points from their 8 qualifying games, one ahead of Denmark who, too, qualified after playing out a 1-1 draw away at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. The Irish put forth one of their better performances in recent years, creating plenty of chances but Matt Doherty’s 85th-minute equalizer came too late as they chased the win they needed so desperately. In a game dominated mostly by the hosts it was the Danes that opened the scoring through Martin Braithwaite who got in behind Doherty to stab home Henrik Dalsgaard’s cross in the 39th minute. Braithwaite’s goal was the first of the only three shots Denmark’s got on target in the game. This compares starkly with Ireland’s 15 on target.

The point means the Republic of Ireland finished third in Group D and can hope to qualify only through the play-offs of the third places, which takes place in March 2020.

Meanwhile England, who have already qualified, concluded their Euro 2020 campaign on a thumping note with a 0-4 win away in Kosovo. Despite the emphatic score line, it was an unconvincing performance by Gareth Southgate’s men, but they were still able to win comfortably in the end in a remarkable atmosphere in Pristina. Harry Winks, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Mason Mount found the back of the net for the visitors. Kosovo, who are out of automatic qualifying contention for the Euros played with great heart, created opportunities and could have scored a couple at least with captain Amir Rrahmani heading wide of an open goal and Valon Berisha shooting inches off target.

Roberto Mancini’s Italy recorded one of the biggest wins in their history as they completed their successful Euro 2020 qualifying campaign by thrashing Armenia 9-1. Ciro Immobile and Nicolo Zaniolo both scored twice to put the Azurri ahead 4-0 by half-time. Nicolo Barella, Alessio Romagnoli, Riccardo Orsolini and Federico Chiesa also scored for the dominant Italians while Chelsea’s Jorginho converted a penalty in the second half. Edgar Babayan’s long-range strike gave Armenia their lone consolation goal in the 79th minute of play. The Italians dominated the Group J, winning all their 10 qualifying games to end up with 30 points.

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