Battle for Euro 2012 spots goes down to wire

London: The fight for the six remaining automatic berths and eight playoff places for Euro 2012 intensifies on Friday when the penultimate round of qualifying matches kicks off.

Several teams are still in the chase for a guaranteed spot in Poland and Ukraine alongside the joint hosts and already-qualified world and European champions Spain, Italy, Netherlands and Germany.

England need one point to book a ticket to next year`s finals but Montenegro, their hosts on Friday, would advance by winning their final two matches in Group G.

Group B remains wide open with leaders Russia, Ireland, Armenia and Slovakia all still in contention while France head into their last two Group D ties one point clear of nearest challengers Bosnia who they meet in their last game.

Croatia can qualify and condemn Greece to the playoffs with victory in their Group F match in Piraeus while Denmark and Portugal must win their games in Group H on Friday to set up a winner-takes-all clash when they meet next Tuesday.

Netherlands have clinched a place at the finals because they will at least be the best runners-up but they can finish top in Group E by avoiding defeat at home to Moldova on Friday.

Bureau Report

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