Euro 2020 Qualifiers: Spain round off excellent campaign with 5-0 dismantling of Romania; Italy romp to massive 9-1 win over Armenia

  • Spain rounded off their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 5-0 win at home to Romania on Tuesday amid doubts over the future of Roberto Moreno as national team coach with media reports suggesting that Luis Enrique could return to the role

  • Fabian Ruiz put Spain in front after eight minutes while forward Gerard Moreno struck twice and then forced an own goal from Romanian Adrian Rus before the break, with Mikel Oyarzabal hitting the fifth in second-half stoppage time

  • Italy achieved their biggest win in more than 70 years when they beat Armenia 9-1 in their last qualifier for the 2020 European Championship

Spain rounded off their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 5-0 win at home to Romania on Tuesday amid doubts over Robert Moreno’s future as national team coach with media reports suggesting that Luis Enrique could return to the role.

Fabian Ruiz put Spain in front after eight minutes while forward Gerard Moreno struck twice and then forced an own goal from Romania’s Adrian Rus before the break, with Mikel Oyarzabal hitting the fifth in second-half stoppage time.

Moreno’s position was called into question before kick-off as several media reports said he would not take charge of the side at next year’s European Championship.

Reports suggested Luis Enrique could make a shock return, having left the role in June after his daughter Xana was diagnosed with cancer and tragically passed away in September.

 Euro 2020 Qualifiers: Spain round off excellent campaign with 5-0 dismantling of Romania; Italy romp to massive 9-1 win over Armenia

Spain's Mikel Oyarzabal, Fabian Ruiz and Saul Niguez, from left to right, applaud the supporters at the end of the Euro 2020 qualifier between Spain and Romania. AP

Moreno, Luis Enrique’s long-time assistant coach who succeeded him in June, did not give the usual post-match news conference or speak to any media, while players were unable to confirm whether or not he was going to continue in the role.

“In the end we can’t do anything, we just have to focus on training and doing as best as we can. We support the coach and his staff,” said double scorer Moreno.

Midfielder Saul Niguez added: “We don’t know anything, I can’t speculate. Robert’s work has been reflected on the pitch and we’re all happy with him.”

Romania coach Cosmin Contra confirmed after the game that he would leave his role when his contract expires in December.

Spain had sealed their place at the finals a month ago and clinched top spot in Group F with a 7-0 win at home to Malta on Friday but they still made a flying start and took the lead when midfielder Fabian Ruiz volleyed home in the eighth minute.

Romania had no chance of qualifying from the group but were already assured of a playoff place via the UEFA Nations League.

They spurned a clear chance to level when George Puscas won the ball back in Spain’s area but he was thwarted by keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and his side were punished when Gerard Moreno glanced a header into the net to double the hosts’ lead.

Forward Moreno put Spain further ahead in the 43rd and sparked the fourth goal when his attempted cross was diverted into the net by Romania defender Adrian Rus for an own goal.

His side appeared to relax after the break although Alvaro Morata hit the woodwork and substitute Mikel Oyarzabal added a fifth goal in stoppage time with a superb low strike from outside the area.

Unbeaten Spain ended the campaign with 26 points from 10 games, five points ahead of Sweden who also qualified for next year’s tournament. Romania finished fourth with 14.

Italy put nine past Armenia

Italy achieved their biggest win in more than 70 years when they beat Armenia 9-1 in their last qualifier for the 2020 European Championship.

Italy’s biggest win since a 9-0 result against the United States in 1948 featured three Italians scoring their first international goals.

Nicolò Zaniolo, debutant Riccardo Orsolini, and Federico Chiesa all got off the mark to help Italy to a record-extending 11th successive victory.

Chiesa hit the woodwork twice before finishing off the scoring for Italy nine minutes from time.

Italy players celebrate after Nicolo Zaniolo scores their fifth goal during a group J qualifier against Armenia. AP

Italy players celebrate after Nicolo Zaniolo scores their fifth goal during a group J qualifier against Armenia. AP

Italy, who have already qualified for Euro 2020 as Group J winner, ensured they progressed with a perfect record of 10 wins in 10 matches. They also beat the United States in a friendly last year.

“You don’t score nine goals in an international match by chance,” Italy coach Roberto Mancini said. “They gave everything. They’re all young lads who are improving match by match, they just need time. ... We have six months to prepare for the European Championship, we have to improve a few things, and then the difficulty will be to, unfortunately, leave someone at home who deserves to be there.”

Italy were 2-0 up after less than 10 minutes and 4-0 at halftime following a Ciro Immobile brace, Zaniolo’s goal, and one for Nicolò Barella.

There was a less frantic start to the second period but Zaniolo added another in the 64th and Alessio Romagnoli bundled in a rebound and Jorginho converted a penalty.

Edgar Babayan pulled one back for Armenia between the goals for Orsolini and Chiesa.

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Updated Date: Nov 19, 2019 07:49:27 IST