Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Albania qualify for Euros at last!

Published:Monday | October 12, 2015 | 10:00 AM
Germany's Andre Schuerrle (left) tries to score as he is challenged by Georgia's Aleksandre Amisulashvili during the Euro 2016 group D qualifying soccer match between Germany and Georgia in Leipzig, Germany, yesterday. Germany won 2-1.

LEIPZIG, Germany (AP):

Albania joined World Cup-winners Germany, Poland and Romania in clinching a spot at next year's European Championship yesterday after winning their final qualifying games.

Germany beat Georgia 2-1 to top Group D ahead of Poland, which beat Ireland by the same score.

Albania reached their first major tournament with a 3-0 away win over Armenia to finish second in Group I behind Portugal, which had already qualified.

Romania's 3-0 away win over the Faroe Islands was enough to clinch second place behind Northern Ireland in Group F.

Here's a round-up of action from yesterday's Euro 2016 qualifying games:

In Group I, Albania reached 14 points, two more than Denmark, which had already played their last qualifier and now face the play-offs.

Group winners Portugal beat already-eliminated Serbia 2-1, winning their seventh consecutive qualifier after a shock 1-0 loss to Albania in the teams' opener. Nani scored in the fifth minute, Zoran Tosic equalised in the 65th and substitute Joao Moutinho netted the winner in the 78th. Portugal finished with 21 points from eight matches. With qualification already secured in advance, the Portuguese played without Cristiano Ronaldo and a few other regular starters.

 

captain sent off

 

Serbia played the final minutes with nine men as captain Aleksandar Kolarov was sent off with a second yellow card in the 80th, and Nemanja Matic received a straight red in the 81st.

In Group D, Germany needed a penalty from Thomas Mueller (50th) and a late goal from substitute Max Kruse (79th) to overcome Georgia, whose captain, Jaba Kankava, had equalised at the 53rd minute, while Poland had captain Robert Lewandowski to thank for the winner against Ireland.

Kruse scored three minutes after coming on as a substitute for Germany to finish top of the group, one point above Poland.

Lewandowski's goal was his 13th goal in qualifying for Poland. It tied the mark set by David Healy of Northern Ireland in Euro 2008 qualifying.

Ireland finished three points behind Poland, but can still qualify for the Euros via a play-off.

In Warsaw, Grzegorz Krychowiak fired Poland ahead in the 13th, only for Jon Walters to equalise three minutes later with a penalty.

Lewandowski claimed the winner with a header to Krzysztof Maczynski's cross in the 42nd.

Scotland routed Gibraltar 6-0 in Faro, Portugal, in the other group game to finish three points behind Ireland in fourth. Georgia finished six points further back, with Gibraltar bottom on none.