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Montenegro thrilled to follow France

Holders France comfortably topped Group 12 but in a dramatic finale a last-minute Marko Vukčević strike gave Montenegro second place ahead of hosts Austria on goals scored.

France coach Philippe Bergeroo
France coach Philippe Bergeroo ©Sportsfile

Holders France topped UEFA European Under-19 Championship qualifying round Group 12 and in a dramatic finale, Montenegro pipped Austria to join them in the next stage.

Having beaten Montenegro and San Marino, France were through to the elite round before the final games, with hosts Austria two points adrift. Montenegro were three further points behind but a 5-0 win against San Marino, coupled with Austria's 1-0 defeat by France, gave them second place on goals scored, Marko Vukčević's last-minute strike completing a memorable week for the Balkan republic.

France were top after the first games, beating San Marino 3-0 while Austria and Montenegro drew 1-1. Two days later Montenegro lost 2-0 to France while Austria overcame San Marino 4-0. Aleksandar Miljenović's side seemed to be heading on out goal difference as they searched for the goals they needed against San Marino even after Ishak Belfodil put France ahead in the first half against Austria.

But with 33 minutes left Stefan Mugoša made it 3-0 to Montenegro and Vukčević was brought on to score the two further goals they needed. When news filtered through to Grodig, the Austria team slumped to the ground in despair while Montenegro celebrated long into the night.

Miljenović said: "I congratulate the players, their enthusiasm has earned us this success. I gambled a bit, I brought Marko Vukčević on and he scored twice. Our A team is going great, they remained unbeaten at Wembley in England. This is yet another great success for Montenegrin football."

Also in the 30 November elite round draw, France have their sights set on achieving in Romania next summer what they did on home soil this July. Coach Philippe Bergeroo, who against Austria fielded last season's winning goalkeeper Abdoulaye Diallo, said: "We are very happy. To be honest, we did not expect three wins. Austria have a strong team. We were lucky because they had problems with injuries and yellow cards."

Captain Darnel Situ added: "We are a very good team and we deserved to qualify. It will be very difficult to be among the eight who get to Romania, but we will not surrender."