EURO 2020 qualifying: Spain, Italy open with victories

  • Spain, Sweden prevail as Malta end 12-year wait
  • Italy, Bosnia Herzegovina and Greece earn victories
  • Switzerland, Ireland start with away wins
  • Standings; next games in these groups on Tuesday
  • Watch highlights from 24:00CET on Sunday



Gibraltar 0-1 Republic of Ireland
After a goalless first half, Darren Randolph made a fine save to deny home captain Roy Chipolina, just before Jeff Hendrick converted David McGoldrick’s pass to give Ireland all three points.

Georgia 0-2 Switzerland
The UEFA Nations League finalists made hard work of it but a half-time change of system did the trick in Tbilisi. In-form Steven Zuber’s through-the-eye-of-a-needle effort broke the deadlock before the hour and Denis Zakaria sealed the points ten minutes from time, following up when an Albian Ajeti effort was parried.


©AFP/Getty Images

Sweden 2-1 Romania
Sweden survived a second-half Romania scare to get their qualifying campaign off to a winning start. The hosts led at half-time through goals from Robin Quaison and Viktor Claesson, and although substitute Claudiu Keșerü cut the deficit shortly after the interval, the visitors were unable to turn their second-half pressure into an equaliser.

Spain 2-1  Norway
Despite fashioning countless first-half chances only Rodrigo, at his Valencia home, found the net prior to the interval, and Joshua King equalised with a penalty midway through the second period. Sergio Ramos responded in kind, restoring Spain’s lead from the spot soon after – the captain’s fifth goal in as many internationals.

©Domenic Aquilina

Malta 2-1 Faroe Islands
Malta ended a 30-game, 12-year wait for a EURO qualifying win thanks to Kyrian Nwoko’s early header and a 77th-minute Steve Borg penalty. Just past the hour Malta keeper Henry Bonello denied Brandur Hendriksson an equaliser from the spot following Andrei Agius’s dismissal, though Jákup Thomsen headed a last-gasp consolation.


Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-1 Armenia
As Edin Džeko became the first Bosnian to 100 caps, Rade Krunić headed in Miralem Pjanić’s corner. Deni Milošević converted Edin Višća’s cross late on for his first international goal before his handball allowed Henrikh Mkhitaryan to score a stoppage-time penalty.

©AFP/Getty Images

Italy 2-0 Finland
First international goals for Nicolò Barella and Moise Kean saw Italy outclass Finland for a first home win in seven. Barella’s thunderous early strike settled Azzurri nerves before Kean coolly slotted a late second. Substitute Fabio Quagliarella struck the crossbar on his international comeback.

Liechtenstein 0-2 Greece
The visitors eased to victory in Vaduz thanks to two fine finishes, Kostas Fortounis breaking the deadlock with a volley just before half-time and substitute Anastasios Donis smashing in a late second.

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