Danes, France and Russians qualify for Euro 2012

Denmark, France and Russia booked their places at Euro 2012 while Portugal were consigned to the play-offs after a tense conclusion to qualifying on Tuesday.

Greece, surprise champions in 2004, joined that trio as winners of their respective groups with Sweden also sealing their passage as best runners-up in Group E with a shock 3-2 win over already qualified Holland in Stockholm.

Two-time former winners France did it the hard way, fighting back from 1-0 down to force a 1-1 draw with Bosnia-Herzegovina, who would have topped the table had they held on to win.

Denmark, European champions in 1992, stunned the Portuguese with a 2-1 win in Copenhagen to leapfrog the visitors and top Group H consigning the Euro 2004 finalists to the play-offs.

Greece edged Georgia 2-1 away while Russia as expected had no problem in disposing of Andorra 6-0 to top their respective groups.

Both title holders Spain and 2008 finalists Germany rounded off their campaigns without dropping a point as Spain beat Scotland 3-1 and the Germans prevailed by the same score against Belgium.

An increasingly impressive Germany romped to victory over a promising Belgian side, who were bidding to become the first Belgium side to win on German soil since a 1983 victory over East Germany.

Goals by Mesut Ozil, Andre Schuerrle and Mario Gomez put paid to the Belgians hopes of the win that would send them into the runners-up play-offs - Turkey's 1-0 win at home to Azerbaijan confirmed they would finish second.

France looked like they might end up in the play-offs for the second successive time in a major championships when Edin Dzeko scored a beauty for Bosnia late in the first-half.

However, a penalty from Dzeko's Manchester City team-mate Samir Nasri levelled matters in the second-half and the hosts held on for the point they needed.

"The match was difficult. It was what we expected," admitted France coach Laurent Blanc.

"It was tough and it was tense. But in the end, it's a huge satisfaction to be qualified for the Euro," added Blanc, who was a member of the side that won Euro 2000.

His Bosnian counterpart Safet Susic said he hoped for better luck in the play-offs as they bid to qualify for their first major finals since achieving independence in 1992.

"I'm particularly sad for my players," said Susic, whose side will learn their play-off opponents on Thursday.

"I think they played a great match. They controlled the match for around 60 minutes before their physical level fell away."

Greece confirmed their place in the finals after two late goals saw them come from 1-0 down to beat Georgia - Angelos Charisteas their Euro 2004 goalscoring hero getting their winner.

Croatia have to be content with a play-off place despite beating Latvia 2-0, their 2-0 away defeat by Greece last Friday proving decisive.

Croatian coach Slaven Bilic - feted as a national hero after an impressive showing at Euro 2008 - didn't shirk his responsibility for their failure to top the group.

"I'm the only one responsible for results in qualifying," he told Croatian television. "Our goal was to finish first in the group, so this must go down as a failure.

Russia were never likely to succumb to an Andorran side that had not mustered a point and scored just one goal in the qualifiers and they duly cruised through.

A brace by rising 21-year-old CSKA Moscow star Alan Dzagoev the feature of the rout.

"I'm proud of my team as we were the better team today and in the entire qualifying campaign," Russia's manager Dick Advocaat said.

"It was a really impressive performance tonight. Now we need to prepare the best possible way for the finals."

Over in Dublin a Valeri Aleksanyan own goal and a Richard Dunne strike had looked to have put the Republic of Ireland out of sight of Armenia but they had to endure a nervy last half hour after Henrik Mkhitaryan reduced the deficit.

Kevin Doyle's red card five minutes from time did not help Irish nerves but they held on to secure a second successive play-off place for a major finals.

They will hope this time round it is less controversial and a happier ending than the 2010 World Cup one against France.

You May Like



    Leave a Reply