SPORTS


EURO 2020 qualifying: Spain, Italy open with victories

Baku, March 24, AZERTAC

Spain and Italy started their campaigns to qualify for Euro 2020 with wins over Scandinavian visitors on Saturday — but in different fashion.

While a misfiring Spain turned to captain Sergio Ramos to edge Norway 2-1, Italians Nicolo Barella and Moise Kean scored their first international goals to beat Finland 2-0.

Italy are top of the early Group J standings ahead of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who edged out Armenia 2-1 as captain Edin Dzeko became the first player in their history to be capped 100 times. The other game in the group saw Greece win 2-0 against Liechtenstein in Vaduz.

Mick McCarthy made an inauspicious start to his second stint in charge of the Republic of Ireland as his team labored to a 1-0 victory over Gibraltar. The result leaves Ireland second in the early Group D table behind Switzerland, who beat Georgia 2-0.

World Cup quarter-finalists Sweden made a winning start in Group F as midfielders Robin Quaison and Viktor Claesson both scored in the space of seven first-half minutes in a 2-1 success over Romania. Malta defeated Faroe Islands 2-1 in the other game of Group F and ended a 30-game, 12-year wait for a EURO qualifying win thanks to Kyrian Nwoko's early header and a 77th-minute Steve Borg penalty.

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