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Oct 11, 2011

Danes deny Portugal, France through

Denmark beat Portugal to an automatic place at Euro 2012 with a 2-1 victory in their winner-takes-all meeting in Copenhagen.

• Euro 2012 Gallery Photo Gallery

Michael Krohn-Delhi gave them a 13th minute lead and Nicklas Bendtner doubled the advantage soon after the hour mark. Cristiano Ronaldo's last-minute goal will prove scant consolation for the Portuguese, who must now negotiate the play-offs if they are to play in Poland and Ukraine.

Samir Nasri's penalty took France to the finals after a tense Paris evening saw them draw 1-1 against Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Edin Dzeko had given the visitors the lead five minutes before half-time, and they withstood a French onslaught early in the second half. But Nasri won and converted a 78th-minute spot-kick to give Les Bleus the point they required to maintain their pre-match advantage in Group D.

Sweden booked their place after two goals in a minute early in the second period secured a 3-2 victory over Netherlands to qualify as the best-placed second-placed team in all the qualifiers.

Erik Hamren's side needed a win to seal the final automatic place. Kim Kallstrom fired them into a 14th-minute lead, but the game turned on its head when Klaas Jan Huntelaar levelled and Dirk Kuyt fired the Dutch in front on 50 minutes. The Swedish fightback was swift in coming, Sebastian Larsson restoring parity on 52 minutes after Jeffrey Bruma handled in the area, before Ola Toivonen added a third 60 seconds later to send Sweden through.

Richard Dunne was the Republic of Ireland's hero once again as his goal edged them past Armenia as a 2-1 win took them into the play-offs on a night when both sides had a man sent off.

Armenia had keeper Roman Berezovsky sent off with just 26 minutes gone for an adjudged handball outside the area that looked a questionable decision. Kevin Doyle's was dismissed for a second bookable offence - a flailing elbow late on.

Armenia's plight deepened a minute before the break when defender Valeri Aleksanyan turned Damien Duff's cross into his own net, and when Dunne bundled home a second on the hour, the game looked to be over. But Henrikh Mkhitaryan's strike sparked concerted fightback, and the final whistle was greeted with Irish joy.

Scotland's dream ended after being outclassed by all-conquering Spain in Alicante.

Craig Levein's side needed an unlikely win to guarantee them a play-off spot in Group I or at least match Czech Republic's result in Lithuania but a first-half double from David Silva was a testament to the home side, who eventually ran out 3-1 winners.

David Villa notched Spain's third in the 54th minute to end any semblance of a contest before Scotland substitute David Goodwillie scored a consolation goal from the spot after Victor Valdes had fouled Craig Mackail-Smith.

With the Czech Republic beating Lithuania in Vilnius 4-1, it was all over for the Scots.

Michal Kadlec put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot within two minutes and Jan Rezek's double had them three up at the break. The Czechs were reduced to 10 men midway through the second half when Roman Hubnik saw red for a professional foul, Darvydas Sernas converting the resulting penalty, but another Kadlec spot-kick five minutes from time sealed a convincing away win.

Russia safely booked their place with a resounding 6-0 victory over Andorra at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

The three points were never in doubt from the moment Alan Dzagoev fired the hosts ahead inside five minutes. A second for Dzagoev and strikes by Sergei Ignashevich and Roman Pavlyuchenko had Russia out of sight at the break, while second-half efforts by Dennis Glushakov and substitute Diniyar Bilyaletdinov added gloss to the scoreline.

The result means Russia top Group B on 23 points while Andorra finished the campaign with10 straight defeats.

Serbia's hopes were ended by Slovenia who took all three points with a 1-0 win in Maribor. Estonia - who had played all their fixtures - take second place and a play-off place, and Serbia's dreams were dashed by Dare Vrsic's goal for Slovenia on the stroke of half-time.

They did have a second-half lifeline when awarded a penalty, but Nemanja Vidic, who was playing only his second match of the season having been injured since August, failed to score from the spot with a poorly-hit penalty.

Euro 2004 winners Greece survived a major scare in Georgia to book their place. Top of the group heading into the game, Fernando Santos' side needed only a point to ensure their presence in Poland and Ukraine. But they trailed for an hour to David Targamadze's free-kick and needed two goals in the final 11 minutes from Giorgos Fotakis and Angelos Charisteas to turn the game around into a 2-1 win.

Croatia must contest a play-off after finishing second in Group F despite their 2-0 victory over Latvia. Knowing only a victory would give them a chance of overhauling pool leaders Greece, Slaven Bilic's men looked set to steal top spot when Greece fell behind in Georgia and they eventually got on top of a stubborn Latvia side. But news of Fotakis' late leveller and Charisteas' subsequent winner in Tbilisi hushed the Stadion Kantrida

Germany completed a perfect Euro 2012 qualifying record with their 10th win from 10 games by beating Belgium 3-1 in Dusseldorf.

Two goals in the space of three first-half minutes from Mesut Ozil and Andre Schurrle put the hosts on course for yet another victory, with Mario Gomez adding a third just after the interval. Marouane Fellaini grabbed a consolation in the 86th minute but it was not enough for Belgium to finish second in Group A.

They needed Turkey to lose at home to Azerbaijan but were left disappointed as Guus Hiddink's side clinched second spot with a 1-0 win. Turkey did enough - just enough - in Istanbul. But while they were rarely troubled by Azerbaijan, their profligacy in front of goal made for a nervous night as they needed almost an hour to break the deadlock. Burak Yilmaz struck for the decisive goal after 59 minutes, firing home from Selcuk Inan's pass.

Wales ended their Euro 2012 campaign on a high as Gareth Bale's goal gave them a 1-0 defeat of Bulgaria - their first back-to-back victories in competitive fixtures for six years - in front of a sparse crowd in Sofia .

Nigel Worthington's Northern Ireland tenure ended in more disappointment as his side were comfortably beaten 3-0 by Italy. Antonio Cassano took full advantage, producing two wonderful for the Group C winners. Veteran goalkeeper Maik Taylor's misunderstanding with Gareth McAuley resulted in a demoralising own-goal.

Switzerland ended their campaign on a high with a 2-0 victory over Montenegro, who had already sealed their play-offs berth. Goals from Eren Derdiyok and Stephan Lichtsteiner confirmed Switzerland's win, meaning they finished third in Group G, one point behind their opponents.

Kazakhstan avoided defeat for only the second time in a low-key goalless draw against Austria at the Astana Arena. In a clash between two nations who already had no chance of claiming a top-two berth in Group A, Austria dominated in terms of shots but clear-cut chances were few and far between at either end.

Lior Refaelov scored early and Rami Gershon added an injury time strike as Israel rounded off their games with a 2-0 win in Malta to confirm third place in Group F.

Macedonia and Slovakia rounded off their campaigns with an uneventful 1-1 draw in Skopje. Both teams headed into the encounter knowing they had no chance of qualifying or even improving on their positions in Group B.

Hungary and Finland played out a goalless draw to wrap up their unsuccessful Euro 2012 qualifying campaigns in Group E. Although Hungary began the night knowing they could still draw level on points with second-placed Sweden, an inferior head-to-head record made this a dead rubber match.

Moldova ended with a routine 4-0 victory over San Marino in a contest between Group E's bottom two teams in Chisinau.

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