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Ronaldo sends Portugal to Euro 2020

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17th November, 2019
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European champions Portugal secure their place at Euro 2020 by beating Luxembourg while England ended their qualifying campaign with a 4-0 away win against Kosovo.

World champions France beat Albania 2-0 in Tirana to finish top of Group H, two points ahead of Turkey, who enjoyed a 2-0 win in Andorra.

Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo, with his 99th international goal, secured a 2-0 victory for Portugal in Luxembourg on Sunday to finish behind Group B winners Ukraine, who struck late through Artem Biesiedin to draw 2-2 in Serbia.

The hosts, who twice led through Dusan Tadic and Alekasander Mitrovic, had to win to have a chance of qualifying automatically.
Serbia will now travel to Oslo in March for a play-off semi-final against Norway.

Ronaldo poked home from close range to confirm Portugal’s victory and move to within one of a century of international goals. Only Iranian great Ali Daei, with 109, has reached such a milestone.

“We have proved that we are one of the greatest teams in Europe and the world,” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. 

“You have to believe in these players. We have to remain grounded and we will be there as (title) candidates.”

England had already qualified but the victory in Pristina ensures they will be among the top six seeds in next summer’s tournament.

Harry Winks scored his first international goal to give Gareth Southgate’s side a halftime lead. Harry Kane made it two and late goals followed from substitutes Marcus Rashford and Mason Mount, his first for England.

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“It was a tight game and a good test for us,” Southgate said.

“It was a difficult pitch, with players slipping and passes going astray. We needed a tighter game and a challenge. I’m happy we got that.

“We had to sustain spells of pressure and gave them chances – on another night that would be a problem. But attacking, we were ruthless.”

Already qualified Czech Republic lost 1-0 in Bulgaria, finishing the group six points behind England, while Kosovo and Bulgaria go into the play-offs.

In Tirana, Corentin Tolisso and Antoine Griezmann scored in the first half for a France victory in coach Didier Deschamps’ 100th game in charge of Les Bleus, who end top of Group H on 25 points.

In Andorra, Enes Unal gave Turkey the lead and then scored from the penalty spot in their 2-0 victory, finishing second in the group, two points behind France.

Third-placed Iceland, who have a play-off place, defeated Moldova 2-1 in Chisinau.

The last two days of Euro 2020 qualifiers continue on Monday and Tuesday.

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© AAP