England, at the top of group E in the qualifiers for European Championships of football 2016, struggled for some time against Slovenia who got the 1-0 lead. However, two goals from Jack Wilshere turned the tide. Slovenia fought back though and scored 2-2 in the second half. A few moments later, Wayne Rooney could score the decisive 3-2 goal for England. Two other British teams played a derby this round, Republic of Ireland and Scotland, in a match that ended 1-1. Northern Ireland played a goalless game against Romania at home while Wales beat Belgium 1-0.
In group G, Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored two goals in Sweden’s 3-1 win against Montenegro. While Austria beat Russia 1-0, this means that Sweden is positioned in second place in the group, four points after Austria, four points before Russia. This gives them a good shot at directly qualifying for the 2016 championships. In the qualifiers, all first and second placed teams advances directly to the tournament, together with the best placed third placed team. The other third placed teams will have to qualify through the “Week of Football”, more on that in a later post.
Former Swedish coach Lars Lagerbäck’s Iceland won against Czech Republic which means they are one step closer to their first European Championships ever. Iceland are in the lead in group A with 15 points. Czech Republic is in second place with 13 points and Netherlands are trailing in third place with 10 points. Croatia and Italy played a 1-1 draw at the top of group H. Sadly, the Croatian supporters are embarrassing themself, this time they had painted a swastika on the field. That is a shame, considering the country has become a great sports nation after the civil was that tore up former Yugoslavia. Portugal struggled against Armenia before superstar Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up and score a hat-trick. Portugal won the game 3-2.
As stated above, Sweden won 3-1 against Montenegro. The other Skandinavic countries all got points in this round, except for Finland who lost against Hungary at home, 0-1. Denmark beat Serbia 2-0. Norway played a goalless game against Azerbaijan.
Germany crushed the newcomers Gibraltar 7-0.
The qualifiers continue in the beginning of September and October.