Euro giants seal spots
Defending champions Spain and fellow European giants Italy secured their places at Euro 2012 on Tuesday.sports Updated: Sep 07, 2011 23:17 IST
Defending champions Spain and fellow European giants Italy secured their places at Euro 2012 on Tuesday.
Spain eased to a 6-0 win at home to minnows Liechtenstein to make it six wins out of six while Italy left it late to gain a 1-0 home win over an unimpressive Slovenia, Giampaolo Pazzini coming on as a substitute to score with five minutes remaining in front of a pitiful crowd of just 18,000.
They join Germany - beaten finalists last time - as the three countries to have qualified by right so far joining co-hosts Ukraine and Poland.
The somewhat controversially world number one ranked team Holland, beaten by Spain in last year's World Cup final, are all but certain to join them as they beat Finland 2-0 away to make it eight wins from eight qualifiers and need a point from their two remaining matches.
England too took a giant step towards the finals with a somewhat fortuitous 1-0 win over Wales at Wembley, Ashley Young's early goal proving just enough, though, veteran Welsh striker Robert Earnshaw will have nightmares at how he came to miss an open goal. Fabio Capello's side lead Montenegro by six points.
The Euro 2000 champions France, though, still have it all to do as they drew 0-0 against Romania but with Bosnia beating Belarus 1-0, the French have just a point's advantage.
Croatia leapfrogged Euro 2004 champions Greece in the standings in Group F after the former trounced Israel 3-1. The Greeks faltered with a 1-1 draw away in Latvia.
Group B too is simmering nicely for a fight to the death as Russia were held 0-0 in Moscow by an Ireland side that kept a ceaseless wave of Russian attacks at bay.