Scots lifted by Russia

Scotland's chances of reaching the European Championship improved last night when Russia beat Greece 2-1 in Moscow. The Russians' victory gave them the automatic qualifying berth from Group Eight but also guaranteed the Scots second place, and the chance of going through as one of the six best runners-up.

Yuri Kovtun was credited with Russia's opening goal in the 36th-minute even though his shot was deflected into the net. The Greeks rallied to equalise with a fine header by Yotis Tsalouhidis in the 64th minute, but Russia wrapped up the victory seven minutes later with a goal by Viktor Onopko.

The Republic of Ireland gained the chance to win Group Six when the leaders, Portugal, managed only a 1-1 draw with Austria in Vienna.

Spain qualified from Group Two by drawing 1-1 away to second-placed Denmark. Switzerland are on the verge of their first Championship after beating Hungary 3-0 in Group Three and Turkey drew 0-0 in Iceland.

France gave themselves a chance of winning Group One by beating the section leaders, Romania, 3-1 in Bucharest.