Leipzig, Oct 12 (IANS) Reigning world champions Germany and Poland have qualified for next year’s European Championship, with Albania and Romania also joining them.
Germany defeated Georgia 2-1 here in their last Group D qualifying match on Sunday. Thomas Mueller put the home team in front from the spot in the 50th minute. Georgia captain Jaba Kankava equalized three minutes later, Xinhua reported.
Max Kruse sealed the victory for Germany in the 79th minute, just three minutes after coming on as a substitute.
“We squandered chances in the first half and struggled in the second half. I’m discontent with the last two performances but I’m happy that we qualified for the EURO 2016,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said.
In Warsaw, Grzegorz Krychowiak fired Poland ahead after a corner in the 13th, only for Jon Walters to equalise three minutes later with a penalty after Michel Pazdan was penalised for a foul on Shane Long.
Robert Lewandowski nailed the host’s 2-1 win with a brilliant header to Krzysztof Maczynski’s cross in the 42nd minute.
Ireland finished with 10 men when captain John O’Shea earned his second yellow card in the last minute. They have to be content with a playoff place after finishing three points behind Poland.
Scotland routed Gibraltar 6-0 in Faro, Portugal, in the other group game to finish three points behind Ireland in fourth. Georgia finished six points further back, with Gibraltar bottom on none.
In Group F, two first-half goals by Constantin Bulescu helped Romania secured their spot in France with a 3-0 away win over Faeroe Islands, while Greece beat Hungary 4-3 to avoid a winless qualifying campaign.
Already qualified Northern Ireland drew 1-1 with Finland in Helsinki after allowing a late equaliser by Paulus Arajuuri. Craig Cathcart had put the visitors ahead in the 31st.
In Group I, Albania clinched their first ever the European Championship finals spot thanks to their 3-0 victory in Armenia for second place.
Albania reached 14 points, two more than Denmark, who had already played their last qualifier and now face the playoffs.
Group winner Portugal beat already eliminated Serbia 2-1, winning their seventh consecutive qualifier after a shock 0-1 loss to Albania in the teams’ opener.