Spain, Swiss sail into Euro 2016 finals

Vicente del Bosque (AFP Photo)
Vicente del Bosque (AFP Photo)

Paris - Spain and Switzerland racked up 11 goals between them to qualify for Euro 2016 on Friday as England maintained their 100 percent record.

Champions in 2008 and 2012, Spain beat Luxembourg 4-0 in Group C thanks to a brace each from Arsenal playmaker Santi Cazorla and Valencia striker Paco Alcacer.

The result saw Spain win the group outright after rivals Slovakia, who had been breathing down their necks, went down 1-0 at home to Belarus and drop to third.

Vicente del Bosque's men are five points clear of Slovakia and Ukraine, who won 2-0 at Macedonia. Ukraine host Spain in their final qualifier in Kiev on Monday.

On the down side, Spain suffered a double injury blow losing David Silva to a twisted ankle before Alvaro Morata was stretchered off with a calf injury.

Cazorla opened the scoring five minutes before half-time as he swept home a rebound after Jonathan Joubert had made a smart save from Pedro Rodriguez.

Alcacer slotted home a neat through ball from Cesc Fabregas on his 99th international appearance 23 minutes from time.

Jordi Alba's cut-back was then tapped into an empty net by Alcacer for his sixth international goal in nine appearances.

And Cazorla rounded off the scoring with the best goal of the night when he thundered in a shot from the edge of the box to seal Spain's ticket to France in style.

"We've managed to qualify at last. We knew we couldn't be complacent, we played very well and managed to get the win," Cazorla told Television Espanola.

"The coach showed his faith in me and it went well with the two goals."

The Swiss stormed to a 7-0 win over San Marino converting three spot-kicks on the way to join England as the two direct qualifiers from Group E.

Having co-hosted the 2008 Euros with Austria, Switzerland missed the 2012 edition.

On Friday, seven different players got the goals to ensure they did not miss out this time.

Defender Michael Lang got the opener on 17 minutes with Gokhan Inler, Admir Mehmedi, Johan Djourou, Pajtim Kasami, Breel Embolo and Eren Derdiyok completing the rout after the break.

Roy Hodgson's England maintained their 100 percent record in the qualifiers with a ninth straight win, 2-0 over Estonia at Wembley, with Theo Walcott and Raheem Sterling delivering the goals late in each half.

With record goal-scorer Wayne Rooney injured, Harry Kane led the line for England, but it was Walcott who opened the scoring in a drab game before Sterling struck a second goal late on.

"We had to work hard, we attacked a lot, we had a lot of the ball and had a lot of chances. I thought we were good value for our 2-0 win," said Hodgson.

In Group G, Russia, Sweden and Montenegro had been locked in a desperate battle for qualification behind runaway leaders Austria.

Austria won again, coming from behind to win 3-2 in Montenegro and have 25 points from nine games.

But Russia's 2-1 win in Moldova leaves them needing only a win at home over Montenegro on Monday to qualify in second place after full back Sergei Ignashevich and forward Arten Dzyuba got Friday's goals.

Russia coach Leonid Slutsky, who took over from the sacked Fabio Capello in August, has won three games since taking the hot seat for the 2018 World Cup hosts.

Sweden can still overhaul Russia after Zlatan Ibrahimovic made up for missing a penalty by scoring the second goal in his side's 2-0 win in Liechtenstein.

The Paris Saint Germain striker thereby stretched his national goalscoring record to 58.

Spain and Switzerland join already qualified Austria, Czech Republic, England, France (as hosts), Iceland, Northern Ireland, and Portugal in the 24-team finals next year.

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