Paris, November 19
Denmark and Switzerland secured spots at the Euro 2020 at the expense of Republic of Ireland on Monday as Roberto Mancini's Italy completed a perfect qualifying campaign by scoring nine.
Ireland needed to beat Denmark in Dublin to clinch qualification for next year's 24-team European Championship finals, but Matt Doherty's late header was only enough to earn Mick McCarthy's men a 1-1 draw at the Aviva Stadium.
Switzerland secured top spot with a 6-1 away win against minnows Gibraltar as Cedric Itten scored twice. Skipper and Arsenal outcast Granit Xhaka netted their final goal.
Italians run riot
Italy had already wrapped up qualification from Group J but they saved their best for last, making it 10 wins from 10 by hammering Armenia 9-1 in Palermo with seven different scorers.
Serie A top scorer Ciro Immobile and Nicolo Zaniolo both scored braces, while Nicolo Barella and Alessio Romagnoli found the net before Jorginho converted a penalty. Riccardo Orsolini came off the bench to score on his Italy debut and Federico Chiesa finished off the scoring after Edgar Babayan had pulled one back for Armenia.
It was an 11th straight win in all for Mancini's side, with Italy scoring nine times in a game for the first time since beating the USA 9-0 at the London Olympics in 1948. Having wrapped up a historic first qualification for a major tournament three days earlier, Finland lost 2-1 to Greece in Athens despite Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki giving them a first-half lead with his 10th goal in eight international games.
Bosnia and Herzegovina finish fourth in the group despite a 3-0 win in Liechtenstein, but they will have another chance to qualify via the play-offs next March.
Spain put 5 past Romania
Meanwhile, Group F winners Spain rounded out their qualifying campaign with a 5-0 destruction of Romania at a barely half-full Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid.
Gerard Moreno scored twice after Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz had opened the scoring. Adrian Rus put through his own net in first-half stoppage time and Real Sociedad striker Mikel Oyarzabal wrapped up the win. Sweden defeated the Faroe Islands 3-0. — AFP
Luis Enrique makes a return as Spain coach
Madrid: Luis Enrique has been reappointed Spain coach, having resigned from the role in June as his late daughter battled cancer, Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) President Luis Rubiales said today. Robert Moreno, the former assistant coach who steered Spain to Euro 2020 qualification after Luis Enrique left, wanted to stand down so that he could return. "Today we can confirm that Luis Enrique returns to his role as coach," Rubiales told a news conference. Reuters
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