Euro 2016 Qualifying round-up: Northern Ireland secure place in France


Northern Ireland have qualified for their first major international tournament since 1986. A 3-1 win over Greece in Belfast secured their place at Euro 2016 in France. Captain Steven Davis scored twice, either side of Josh Magennis’s strike at a raucous Windsor Park, where Christos Aravidis’ late consolation failed to dampen the party atmosphere. Meanwhile, Scotland’s hopes were ended after Robert Lewandowski’s last minute equaliser. The striker stabbed home from a yard out, 90 minutes after opening the scoring. Excellent strikes from Matt Ritchie and Steven Fletcher turned things around for the hosts, and looked to have kept their slim chances of qualifying alive, until the Bayern Munich scored his 14th goal in his last 5 games for club and country.In the same group, the Republic of Ireland beat Germany 1-0 to secure at least a play-off place, and keep automatic qualification in their own hands. The world champions dominated most of the game in Dublin, but couldn’t find a way past a stubborn Irish defence. Shane Long was then given a hero’s welcome when brought on with 25 minutes left, and five minutes later justified his reception as he seized onto a long ball, letting it bounce once before firing past Manuel Neuer. The result leaves Ireland third in Group D, a point behind Germany and level with Poland, who they play in the final game on Sunday. Elsewhere, Portugal secured their place with a 1-0 win over Denmark, thanks to a strike from midfielder Moutinho.

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