- Teemu Pukki double secures first major finals appearance
• Sweden also qualify thanks to a 2-0 win in Romania
Paulus Arajuuri celebrates after Finland’s win over Liechtenstein secured a first-ever berth at a major tournament finals. Photograph: LEHTIKUVA/Reuters
Teemu Pukki scored twice as Finland beat Liechtenstein 3-0 in Helsinki to book a place at Euro 2020 and reach the finals of a tournament for the first time in the country’s history.
Jasse Tuominen scored after 21 minutes before Pukki converted a penalty early in the second half and wrapped up the win with their third goal 15 minutes from time. The victory secured Finland second spot in Group J with 18 points.
Finland, a nation of around 5.5 million people, was the only major Nordic country to have failed to reach a World Cup or European Championship.
Breaking that duck at the 5G-aerena led to home fans pouring on to the pitch at the final whistle and giving each other high-fives and congratulating the players as fireworks exploded. Finland’s prime minister, Antti Rinne, tweeted: “Oh Finland is, oh Finland is, oh Finland is finally in the championship.”
The group winners, Italy, enjoyed a 3-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina through goals from Francesco Acerbi, Lorenzo Insigne and Andrea Belotti which maintained their 100% record.
Sweden also qualified with goals from Marcus Berg and Robin Quaison giving them a 2-0 win in Romania, although the win was marred by racist abuse suffered by striker Alexander Isak when he replaced Berg in the 78th minute. The game was stopped briefly by the referee and an announcement was made over the public address system.
Norway must hope for a play-off spot despite a 4-0 win over the Faroe Islands in Group F. Tore Reginiussen and Iver Fossum scored in the opening eight minutes before Alexander Soerloth added another two goals midway through the second half to secure the win.
The group leaders, Spain, beat Malta 7-0 in Cadiz, where the former Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla scored his first international goal for four years.
In Copenhagen Denmark beat Gibraltar 6-0 and will qualify if they avoid defeat by the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Monday. Switzerland beat Georgia 1-0 in the other Group D match and will make it with a win in Gibraltar.