Euro 2024 round-up: Spain score six and Italy win to close gap on group leaders

Erling Haaland also on target in Norway's 2-1 victory over Georgia while Belgium thrash Estonia

Ferran Torres scored twice in Spain's 6-0 win over Cyrpus in Euro 20204 qualifying. AP
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Spain followed up their demolition of Georgia with a 6-0 win over Cyprus on Tuesday to close the gap on runaway Euro 2024 qualifying group leaders Scotland, while Italy defeated Ukraine to move above them in Group C.

Having secured the Nations League title in June with a penalty shootout win over Croatia, Spain resumed their qualifying campaign for next summer's European Championship with a 7-1 thrashing of Georgia on Friday, and Luis De la Fuente's side were similarly ruthless against Cyrpus at Los Carmenes.

Substitute Ferran Torres struck twice, while Gavi, Mikel Merino, Joselu, and debutant Alex Baena were also on target in Granada.

Spain closed to six points behind runaway Group A leaders Scotland with a game in hand. The two teams meet in the next round in Seville on October 12.

"Our objective is clear: win the rest of the games," manager De la Fuente told Spanish broadcasters TVE. "We want to finish top of the group."

Norway kept alive their faint chance of catching either Scotland or Spain while ending Georgia's hopes of qualifying with a 2-1 victory in Oslo.

Erling Haaland gave Norway the lead with his seventh goal in five competitive matches this season and his 25th in 26 internationals. Martin Odegaard added a second before Budu Zivzivadze responded deep in added time.

Davide Frattesi ensured Italy got their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign back on track with a brace in an entertaining 2-1 win over Ukraine which moved the Azzurri second in Group C.

Inter Milan midfielder Frattesi rifled in two low finishes in the first half-an-hour at the San Siro to give Luciano Spalletti his first success on his home debut as coach of the European champions.

Spallietti replaced Roberto Mancini, who resigned from the position to take charge of the Saudi Arabia national team.

Italy moved level on seven points with Ukraine, who scored through captain Andriy Yarmolenko four minutes before half-time, and North Macedonia.

Italy occupy the second of two automatic qualifying places on head-to-head record between those three teams, six points behind England who have played a game more.

"We need to be happy," said Spalletti to broadcaster Rai. "The team played good football and was well-organised on the pitch."

Ukraine drew with England on Saturday.

"It was hard for us to play so soon after playing against England," said Ukraine coach Serhiy Rebrov.

Next month Italy face Malta in Bari before travelling to Wembley, the site of their triumph at Euro 2020, to take on England.

Belgium leapfrogged Austria at the top of Group F on goal difference even though both sides won.

Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Belgium crushed Estonia 5-0 in Brussels, while Austria, facing a much trickier trip to Solna, beat Sweden 3-1.

"A perfect night: 5-0, clean sheet. A goal, my 150th game," said veteran Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen who opened the scoring.

"We have many players who are no longer part of the national team," the 36-year-old added. "I didn't feel ready for that yet."

In Sweden, Austria scored three times in 16 second-half minutes.

Michael Gregoritsch hit the first and Marko Arnautovic the next two before Emil Holm replied in the 90th minute.

The top two have a seven-point cushion over Sweden.

"Now we can breathe a bit," said Austria coach Ralf Rangnick.

Switzerland stayed top of Group I after making hard work of a 3-0 victory over last-place Andorra.

Cedric Itten gave the hosts a 49th-minute lead in Sion. Granit Xhaka, in the 84th minute, and Xherdan Shaqiri with a penalty deep in added time, gave a little polish to the final score.

Romania stayed two points behind in second after they beat Kosovo 2-0 in Bucharest in a game delayed after home fans unfurled an anti-Kosovo banner in the first half.

Even though the visitors played with 10 men from the 42nd minute when striker Verdat Muriqi was sent off, the hosts did not take the lead until captain Nicolai Stanciu, who had earlier missed a penalty, scored with seven minutes left. Valentin Mihaila added a second deep into added time.

Israel left it later, Gabi Kanichowsky scoring the only goal as they beat Belarus 1-0 in Tel Aviv in the third minute of added time to keep Israel a point behind Romania.

Updated: September 13, 2023, 4:23 AM