EURO – 2016 : Spain cruise; Swiss fight back


A review of Saturday’s Euro 2016 qualification action as Spain won comfortably and Switzerland produced an amazing comeback.

Spain rose to the top of Group C with a 2-0 win over Slovakia, with goals coming from Jordi Alba and Andres Iniesta.

Vicente del Bosque named David de Gea on the bench for the European Championship holders, with Iker Casillas starting in Oviedo.

And they got off to a fine start, Alba heading home David Silva’s fantastic through ball in the fifth minute. On the half hour, Spain made it 2-0 after Diego Costa was fouled in the area by goalkeeper Matus Kozacik, allowing Iniesta to slot home.

Third-placed Ukraine made light work of Belarus to win 3-1 and put further pressure on Slovakia.

Artem Kravets opened the scoring after seven minutes before Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka made it 3-0 at the interval.

Sergei Kornilenko pulled a goal back from the spot for Belarus but it was too late to prevent Ukraine from beating them for the second time in qualifying.

Luxembourg rounded off the Group C action with a 1-0 win over FYR Macedonia, courtesy of Sebastien Thill’s stoppage time strike.

Russia closed the gap behind second-placed Sweden in Group G to a single point with a 1-0 win at the Otkeytie Arena as Artem Dzyuba’s first-half strike went unanswered.

And it now looks like a straight shoot-out between them for the second qualifying place as Austria stretched clear at the top with a 1-0 win over Moldova.

Zlatko Junuzovic scored the only goal of the game as Austria have now gone four Euro 2016 qualifying games without conceding a goal.

Montenegro might be out of contention but they at least claimed a 2-0 triumph over Liechtenstein as Stevan Jovetic bagged his fourth goal in three games and was also the provider for Fatos Beciraj’s opener.

In Group E Wayne Rooney equalled Bobby Charlton’s goalscoring record as England beat San Marino 6-0 to book the Three Lions’ place at next year’s championship.

Elsewhere in England’s Group E, there were wins for Switzerland and Estonia.

The Swiss produced an incredible comeback with three goals in the final 10 minutes to defeat Slovenia 3-2 at St Jakob-Park.

Goals from Milivoje Novakovic and Bostjan Cesar either side of half-time looked to have set Slovenia on the way to victory. However, substitutes Josip Drmic (80) and Valentin Stocker (84) turned the match around before Borussia Monchengladbach forward Drmic struck a last-gasp winner.

They are now up to second, while Estonia sit behind them in third after Konstantin Vassiljev scored the only goal against Lithuania.


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