Euro 2012 round-up: Nerveless Nasri ensures France edge out Bosnia

 

A nerveless penalty from Manchester City's Samir Nasri, his first international goal in four years and 21 matches, enabled France to edge into Euro 2012 after a tense night in Paris.

France, needing a point to avoid the play-offs, went behind to a curling 40th minute strike from Nasri's club colleague Edin Dzeko, who had chances for further goals.

Nasri, who had shots turned against the bar either side of his penalty by Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, levelled 12 minutes from time after Scottish referee Craig Thomson penalised Emir Spahic for bringing Nasri down.

Greece, Sweden, Russia and Denmark also qualified last night, with Republic of Ireland, Portugal, Croatia, Bosnia, Turkey, Estonia and Czech Republic joining Montenegro in the play-offs.

The Irish are likely to be seeded when the draw is made in Krakow tomorrow, though Uefa are yet to confirm the final standings in their devilishly complicated co-efficient system.

Seeding would enable them to avoid Portugal who were condemned to a play-off by Denmark in Copenhagen. Nicklas Bendtner's goal, scored after Nani lost possession, proved the difference in a 2-1 win with Cristiano Ronaldo's spectacular injury-time strike too little, too late.Portugal would still have qualified as best second-placed finishers but for Sweden's 3-2 victory over a Netherlands team which had won their previous nine qualifiers.

Remember Angelos Charisteas? Since scoring Greece's title-winning goal in Euro 2004 he has scored 37 league goals in seven seasons, but the national colours transform him. The Panetolikos striker scored another winner to take Greece into these finals, overturning Georgia's half-time lead and sending Croatia into the play-offs.

Serbia's 1-0 defeat in Slovenia meant Estonia qualified for the play-offs, Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic played, despite his recent injury, and missed a 64th-minute penalty which would have been an equaliser. He then reportedly indicated he will retire from international football at the end of the year.

Belgium last won in Germany in 1910 so their 3-1 defeat in Düsseldorf was no surprise. That gave Germany a perfect 10 wins in qualifying and enabled Turkey to clinch a play-off place.

There was no qualification at stake in Sofia, as was obvious from a paltry turn-out by Bulgarian fans. Wales made it three wins in succession with a deflected goal from Gareth Bale. Nigel Worthington's last match in charge of Northern Ireland ended in a 3-0 defeat in Italy.

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