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Euro 200 Roundup: Strong field of Euro 2000 runners-up emerges

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Jay Mwamba

Competitive, but not awesome. That sums up the field of Euro 2000 qualifying group runners-up, from which Ireland’s playoff opponents next month will emerge after today’s draw in Aachen, Germany.

The list includes England, who sneaked through after Sweden defeated Poland 2-0 at the weekend; Turkey, who beat Northern Ireland twice in Group 3; Euro ’92 surprise winners Denmark, and Scotland. Ukraine, Isr’l and Slovenia are the other teams in the playoff draw.

Portugal, the runners-up in Group 7, earned an automatic berth in the finals after their 3-0 victory over Hungary in Lisbon saw them finish the qualifiers with the best record (7-2-1, 23 points) among the nine second-placed teams. Rui Costa (15th), Joao Pinto (16th), and Abel Xavier (58th)

connected.

Joining co-hosts Holland and Belgium in next summer’s 16-nation finals are group winners: Italy (1), Norway (2 ), Germany (3), France (4), Sweden (5), Spain (6), Romania (7), Yugoslavia (8), and the Czech Republic (9).

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Yugoslavia prevail

Save for that last second lapse in concentration in Skopje, Ireland could have spared themselves the rigmarole and risks of a playoff series after their Group 8 rivals Croatia and Yugoslavia drew 2-2 in Zagreb on Saturday.

The seesaw game exploded after 20 minutes when Alen Boksic put the Croats ahead. Yugoslavia then took control with Predrag Mijatovic (26th) and Dejan Stankovic (31st) scoring in a five-minute spell, before Mario Stanic (47th)

put Croatia back in contention.

The tie enabled Yugoslavia (5-2-1, 17) to win the group by a point over the Republic (5-1-2, 16). Croatia (4-3-1, 15) finished third.

Swedes rescue England

Swedish striker Kennet Andersson (64th) and Henrik Larsson (92nd) put themselves in line for English honors with goals against Poland in Stockholm that proved more valuable for England than for the home side in Group 5.

Poland (13) needed just a tie to edge England out of second position but got no favors from the fired up Swedes (7-1-0, 22), who had had already clinched the group.

Fighting Turks

Reigning champs Germany survived heavy bombardment from Turkey in Munich to secure a goalless draw, and a place in the finals as the Group 3 winners (7-1-1, 19). Turkey, 3-0 victors over the North in both legs during the qualifiers, tallied 17 points from a 5-2-1 record.

Northern exposure

Also in Group 3, Northern Ireland completed another miserable qualifying campaign by going down 4-1 to Finland in Helsinki. The Zambian-born Jeff Whitley (59th) made it competitive for a spell, canceling out Jonatan Johansson’s ice-breaker (9th). But Liverpool’s Sami Hyypia (6th) and Joonas Kolkka (73rd, 83rd) put the issue beyond doubt, down the stretch.

The North (1-2-5, 5) finished second from the bottom in the group.

Danes relegated

European champions in 1992 even after failing to qualify for those finals, Denmark (14) were thrust into the playoff picture last weekend without even playing a match. That’s because Italy’s 0-0 tie with Belarus in Minsk was enough to win Group1 for the Azzurri (15).

Braveheart

John Collin’s 26th minute penalty against Bosnia on Oct. 5 had shot Scotland into the playoffs from Group 9, but that didn’t prevent the Scots from going all out against Lithuania who they thrashed 3-0 in Glasgow at the weekend. Don Hutchison (48th), Gary McSwegan (50th) and Colin Cameron (89th) were on song.

Scotland (5-3-2, 18) bagged second place behind the formidable Czech Republic who finished with a perfect record (10-0-0, 30) after knocking off the Faroe Islands 2-0 in Prague. Jan Koller (11th) and Pavel Verbir (84th) scored.

Isr’lis through

Isr’l advanced to the playoffs as the Group 6 runners-up despite crashing 3-0 to group winners Spain (7-0-1, 21). That’s because rivals Cyprus fell 3-1 away to Austria.

Fernando Morientes (30th), Cesar Martin (37th) and Raul Gonzalez (51st) struck for Spain in Albacete. In Vienna, Eduard Glieder (5th), Ivica Vastic (23rd) and Andreas Herzog (81st) lifted Austria past the Cypriots, who were reduced to nine men, but still able to pull a goal back (Costas Costas, 63rd).

Heroic Shevchenko

Ukraine stayed on course for their first European Championship appearance after Andriy Shevchenko’s late free-kick (88th) earned them a 1-all tie with Russia in Moscow. Valery Karpin (72nd) was the Russian hitman.

With World Cup holders France besting Iceland 3-2 to take Group 4 (21), Ukraine (20) dropped into second position and into the playoffs.

A Rikhardur Dadason own goal (17th), and strikes by Youri Djork’ff (39th) and David Trezeguet (71st) set up the French victory in Paris. Eyjoflur Sverrisson (48th) and Brynar Gunnarsson (56th) replied for Iceland.

Armenia beat Andorra 3-0, courtesy of Artur Petrosyan (26th), Tigran Yesoyan (59th), and Armen Shakhgeldyan (65th), in their final Group 4 match,.

In Group 2, Slovenia (17) could afford to lose 3-0 at home to Greece and still make the playoffs. Vasilis Tsartas (39th), Georgios Georgiadis (43rd) and Demis Nikolaidis (73rd) starred in this meaningless encounter.

Group 2 winners Norway (25) edged Latvia 2-1 in Riga. Manchester United’s Ole Gunnar Solkskj’r (51st) and Chelsea’s Tore Andre Flo (85th) scored. Marian Pahars (52nd) replied for Latvia.

ROMANIA RULES: And in Vaduz, Laurentiu Rosu (26th ) and Ionel Ganea (65th, 73rd) led Romania to a 3-0 decision over Liechtenstein that clinched Group 7 for the East Europeans (24), ahead of Portugal.

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