European qualifier roundup

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Photo courtesy of Pelle T Nilsson/Flickr

Tuesday night’s final round of European Championship qualifiers saw Ukraine and Sweden join the pool for next year’s competition.

A Zlatan Ibrahimovic brace saw Sweden hold Denmark to a draw in Copenhagen, with the Swedes qualifying 4-3 on aggregate.

Imbrahimovic hit back at critics after announcing he could retire after next years competition in France.

“They said they were going to send me to retirement, I sent their whole nation into retirement.”

Having caused controversy late last week by claiming he had “put Sweden on the world footballing map”, the 34-year old silenced the crowd twice, with a scrappy finish from a corner in the 19th minute.

The pick of the bunch on the night came in the 76th minute however, when Ibrahimovic scored his second with a curling 25-yard free-kick.

Goals for Denmark came late on with Christian Poulsen and Jannik Vestergaard scoring in the 81st and 90th minutes respectively.

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Ukraine qualify for the 2016 European Championships, photo courtesy of Firsikov/Flickr

 

Elsewhere, in Slovenia, Ukraine held the hosts to a 1-1 draw, which sees the Eastern European nation reach its first European Championship through the qualification stage.

The side had previously qualified automatically when they co-hosted the tournament with Poland in 2012.

Having won 2-0 in the first leg, Ukraine were in high spirits when travelling to Maribor.

Slovenia took the lead early on, with an 11th minute strike from captain Bostjan Cesar. The home side continued to apply pressure throughout the game, but found it difficult to create chances.

Cesar was denied in the 74th minute with a superb save from the away side goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov.

Despite maintaining possession and pressing Ukraine to the limit, the game was all but done in the 90th minute when Andriy Yarolenko secured Ukraine’s spot at the Euro’s from a fantastic counter-attacking move.

Slovenia right-back Miso Brecko was sent off for a high footed challenge during injury time, which all in all rounded off a disappointing night for the home side.

 

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