Danes, Swiss through to Euro 2020 as rampant Italy hit nine
Denmark and Switzerland secured spots at Euro 2020 at the expense of the Republic of Ireland on Monday as Roberto Mancini’s Italy completed a perfect qualifying campaign by scoring nine.
Ireland needed to beat Denmark in Dublin to clinch qualification for next year’s 24-team European Championship finals, but Matt Doherty’s late header was only enough to earn Mick McCarthy’s men a 1-1 draw at the Aviva Stadium.
A closely-fought contest, low on technical quality, swung the visitors’ way when the unmarked Martin Braithwaite stuck out a boot to divert a Henrik Dalsgaard cross into the net on 73 minutes.
However, Ireland scored a late equaliser to draw 1-1 in Copenhagen in June and they repeated the feat here as Wolverhampton Wanderers right-back Doherty headed in an Enda Stevens cross with five minutes left.
Needing to win, the home side then threw everything at their opponents in the dying moments, but Denmark held on to clinch second place in Group D behind Switzerland.
“We had opportunities but I am not going to criticise the lads,” McCarthy told Sky Sports.
“They have been brilliant. We lost one game out of eight. I am very proud of them. We can beat anyone in the play-offs.”
The Danes, European champions in 1992, can now look forward to playing at home during the finals, with Copenhagen one of the 12 host cities chosen for the tournament.
Switzerland secured top spot with a 6-1 away win against minnows Gibraltar as Cedric Itten scored twice. Skipper and Arsenal outcast Granit Xhaka netted their final goal.
Italy had already wrapped up qualification from Group J but they saved their best for last, making it 10 wins from 10 by hammering Armenia 9-1 in Palermo with seven different scorers.
Serie A top scorer Ciro Immobile and Nicolo Zaniolo both scored braces, while Nicolo Barella and Alessio Romagnoli found the net before Chelsea midfielder Jorginho converted a penalty……..read more