Spain qualified for Euro 2020 with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Sweden in Stockholm thanks to Rodrigo Moreno’s injury-time equaliser, while Italy pumped five goals against a hapless Liechtenstein to continue their hot run.
Sweden had taken a 1-0 lead through Marcus Berg scoring in the 50th minute and maintained it till 90 minutes before Moreno, coming off the bench, scored a dramatic leveller to trigger wild celebrations. Sweden, with 20 points are five ahead of Sweden and six more than Romania in Group F standings.
“Qualification is a must for a team like Spain but achieving it still has value. It releases the pressure and gives us time to work” Moreno said after the match.
Italy were ruthless with Andrea Belotti finding the nets twice, and Federico Bernardeschi, Alessio Romagnoli and Stephen El Shaarawy scoring in the second, 77th and 82nd minute respectively. Belotti scored a header two minutes into stoppage time, adding to his 70th- minute goal.
The win helped Italy take their unbeaten run to eight games, equalling an 80-year-old record and take the top spot in Group J qualifiers. Roberto Mancini celebrated his ninth straight win as Italy manager to draw level with the record run of legendary Vittorio Pozzo back in 1938-1939.
Pozzo won the first two of Italy’s four World Cup titles in 1934 and 1938 and gold in the 1936 Berlin Olympics “I’m more interested in his record of two World Cups and the Olympics, but even just winning Euro 2020 would be enough,” said Mancini.
“We struggled a bit because we didn’t find the second goal right away, but with so many changes it was inevitable to spend a little time finding the right chemistry. The important thing is that all the kids are really involved. And the truth is that in June, I will be forced to make choices and some good players will have to stay out.”
Elsewhere, Switzerland kept their hopes alive in Group D with Haris Seferovic’s early lead and a late own by Shane Duffy three minutes into stoppage time. The win puts Switzerland a point behind Ireland and Denmark, leading the group. In Group J, Finland took another step towards qualification blanking Armenia 3-0. Fredrik Jensen opened the scoring in the 31st minute before a brace from Teemu Pukki in the 61st and 88th minute.