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Spain and Italy make way to Poland and Ukraine

Published: Wednesday 7 September 2011, 0.01CET
Holders Spain and Italy took the number of confirmed UEFA EURO 2012 finalists to five while the Netherlands and England both closed in on joining them as other groups tightened.

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Published: Wednesday 7 September 2011, 0.01CET

Spain and Italy make way to Poland and Ukraine

Holders Spain and Italy took the number of confirmed UEFA EURO 2012 finalists to five while the Netherlands and England both closed in on joining them as other groups tightened.

Holders Spain and Italy became the latest teams to qualify for UEFA EURO 2012 on a night when the Netherlands and England closed in and Croatia moved to the summit of their group.

On Friday, Group A winners Germany were the first side to ensure top spot in their section and join hosts Ukraine and Poland in next year's final tournament. Italy and Spain both knew a win tonight would give them automatic places too, and they each duly delivered.

Italy needed a late Giampaolo Pazzini goal to beat Slovenia 1-0, but this was enough to preserve an eight-point lead over a Serbia side looking good for a play-off berth, even if Estonia are only one point behind. In Group I, Spain eased to a 6-0 win against Liechtenstein to wrap up their progress. Second place is still up for grabs with Scotland beating Lithuania 1-0 to move within two points of the Czech Republic.

The Netherlands are not quite confirmed as Group E winners after a 2-0 victory in Finland but they sit six points clear of Sweden with two games left. Even if Sweden close the gap before the 11 October visit of the Netherlands, they would need to win that game by better than 4-1 to come top. England, meanwhile, won 1-0 at home to Wales in Group G and will qualify with a draw in Montenegro on 7 October.

In Group F the lead changed hands as Croatia eliminated Israel with a 3-1 home success that lifted them a point ahead of Greece, held 1-1 in Latvia. Denmark beat Norway 2-0 in Copenhagen in Group H to join both their neighbours, who have played a game more, and Portugal, sitting the night out, on 13 points.

France are just one point clear of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the team they must face in their final Group D qualifier, after a 0-0 draw in Romania. Bosnia and Herzegovina boosted their hopes and inflicted terminal damage on Belarus's by following up Friday's win in Minsk with a 1-0 home triumph. With that result Belarus are now out while Romania's hopes look slim.

Four teams are in the Group B hunt after Russia were held 0-0 by the Republic of Ireland and Armenia triumphed 4-0 in Slovakia. Russia are two ahead of Ireland with Armenia and Slovakia one further back. In Germany's Group A, meanwhile, Turkey ended Austria's play-off hopes with a 0-0 Vienna draw and are two points ahead of Belgium.

Last updated: 06/12/13 9.46CET

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