Greece, Czechs, Romania advance
London, October 18:
Greece, the Czech Republic and Romania qualified for next year’s European Championship with wins on Wednesday, and England’s chances of advancing were hurt when it lost at Russia 2-1.
Greece beat Turkey 1-0 through a 79th-minute goal by Ioannis Amanatidis, and the Czechs won 3-0 at Germany, which had already secured a place at the tournament. Romania beat Luxembourg 2-0, and Portugal, which lost to Greece in the 2004 final, earned an important 2-1 win at Kazakhstan.
Thierry Henry scored twice to give France a 2-0 win over Lithuania and control of Group B after Scotland lost at Georgia 2-0. Croatia, which was idle on Wednesday, is still likely to win Group E and qualify. But Russia will now advance ahead of England if it wins its last two matches at Israel and Andorra.
Greece avenged a 4-1 home loss to Turkey to go to 25 points, enough to ensure it will take one of Group C’s two qualifying spots. Turkey has 18 points, but only second-place Norway can catch Greece after it won at Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-0.
Germany became the first team advance on Saturday and were without several key players as the Czech Republic handed them a heaviest home loss since 2001.
Libor Sionko scored in the 2nd minute, Marek Matejovsky added another in the 23rd, and Jaroslav Plasil scored the third in the 64th to give the Czechs a spot at the competition in Austria and Switzerland.
France has 25 points, one more than Scotland and two more than World Cup champion Italy. Scotland can qualify by beating Italy in its final match next month.
Georgia’s Levan Mjedlidze headed in from a corner in the 16th and David Siradze added another in the 64th. Ukraine, out of contention, beat the Faeroe Islands 5-0 in the same group. Romania lead Group G after goals by Florentin Petre and Ciprian Marica, while the Netherlands also look likely to qualify after a 2-0 win over Slovenia.