Holders Spain beat Ukraine, Russia, Slovakia qualify for Euro 2016

Russia and Slovakia reserved places in the 2016 European Championship while Spain saw Ukraine off to qualify for the main event.

IANS| Updated: Oct 13, 2015, 12:11 PM IST
Holders Spain beat Ukraine, Russia, Slovakia qualify for Euro 2016

Moscow: Russia and Slovakia reserved places in the 2016 European Championship while Spain saw Ukraine off to qualify for the main event.

Russia will be playing the European Championship finals for the fourth straight time after they beat Montenegro 2-0 here to finish second in Group G behind Austria, who pushed aside Liechtenstein 3-0 on Monday, reports Xinhua.

Sweden clinched a 2-0 win over Moldova to stand third.

Slovakia defeated Luxembourg 4-2 to finish second to Spain in Group C where Spain edged Ukraine 1-0.

It was a day of milestones for Spain, as Cesc Fabregas - making his 100th appearance with the squad - took the field wearing the captain's armband and international newcomer Mario Gaspar celebrated his debut by scoring in the 22nd minute.

Coach Vicente Del Bosque selected a line-up of mainly substitutes for the visit to Kiev's Olympic stadium, where Spain hoisted the European Cup in 2012, and his calculations paid off to give Spain its eighth consecutive victory in this year's group stage.

Fabregas, however, missed a chance to make his 100th international cap truly memorable.

Pulled down in the area a minute after Gaspar's goal, Cesc saw Ukrainian goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov make a diving stop on his penalty try.

The save boosted Ukraine's spirits and the home team showed much more initiative on offense in the second half, but they couldn't solve Spanish keeper David De Gea.

In Group E, England will travel to France without losing a single point in its qualification campaign after they sealed a 3-0 win in Vilnius, Lithuania. 

Switzerland bagged a 1-0 win at Estonia to finish second with 21 points, nine adrift of England but five ahead of third-placed Slovenia.

The top two teams from the nine groups qualify automatically. The best third-placed team also advances, while the other eight meet in a playoff.

Eighteen teams have now qualified for the 24-team finals: Hosts France, title holders Spain, England, Italy, Belgium, Iceland, Austria, Portugal, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Wales, Northern Ireland, Germany, Poland, Albania, Romania, Russia and Slovakia.

Two automatic berths are still up for grabs in Tuesday's final group matches.

Matches on Tuesday in Groups A, B and H will determine the second automatic qualifying spot from Group H and the remaining three play-off places plus the best third-place side.

Play-off places are confirmed for Sweden, Slovenia, Ukraine, Denmark and Ireland.