Monday, December 16, 2019 | ePaper

Finland into first major finals as Sweden seal Euro 2020 place

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Finnish captain Tim Sparv ( left) celebrates with Paulus Arajuuri (center) and goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky after their victory in the Euro 2020 Group J qualifying soccer match between Finland and Liechtenstein in Helsinki, Finland on Friday.



Finland qualified for the first major tournament in their history on Friday with a 3-0 win over Liechtenstein while Sweden sealed their place at the Euro 2020 finals following a victory in Romania.
Norwich City forward Teemu Pukki scored twice in Helsinki and Jasse Tuominen also netted to bring the home crowd pouring onto the pitch at the final whistle as Finland wrapped up second place behind Group J winners Italy.
Roberto Mancini's Italy registered a record 10th straight win as they eased past Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-0 in Zenica.
Francesco Acerbi, Lorenzo Insigne and Andrea Belotti scored for Italy, who have bounced back impressively after failing to qualify for last year's World Cup year for the first time since 1958.
"Mancini has done a great job, he has given us clear ideas in a short period of time. We are proud of the record of ten consecutive wins but our objectives and our dreams are honestly others," said Belotti.
Bosnia are guaranteed a place in the play-offs after finishing top of their UEFA Nations League group last year.
Sweden qualified for a sixth straight European Championships after a 2-0 success in Bucharest that eliminated Romania from contention.
Marcus Berg and Robin Quaison scored first-half goals for Sweden who secured second place behind Group F winners Spain, leaving Romania hoping for a play-off berth.
Berg headed in an inviting cross from Emil Forsberg as Sweden surged ahead on 18 minutes and then turned provider as he cushioned the ball off for Quaison to double the lead.
Seven different players were on target for already-qualified Spain in a 7-0 thrashing of lowly Malta in Cadiz.
Alvaro Morata opened the scoring on 23 minutes before former Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla bagged his first international goal in four years.
Pau Torres, substitutes Pablo Sarabia and Dani Olmo, Gerard Moreno and Jesus Navas completed the rout as Spain made sure of top spot.
Spanish fans honoured Sergio Ramos with a huge mosaic of the defender who last month broke the record previously held by Iker Casillas for most national team appearances.
"I'm very happy. What better way for me to toast this tribute than with a victory of such authority and playing such good football?" said Ramos, who earned his 169th cap Friday.
"The joy is two-fold on both a personal and group level."
Alexander Sorloth struck twice for Norway in a 4-0 win over the Faroe Islands. Tore Reginiussen and Iver Fossum got the other goals in Oslo for the hosts who will head into the playoffs.

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