Euro qualifying wrap: Estonia, England surprise; Spain, Russia cruise


It says something that the biggest surprise of the second day of Euro 2016 qualifying involved England winning, but it’s hard to argue any other scoreline raised more eyebrows than this one:

Switzerland 0-2 England.

Yes, England went into the home of their biggest rival for Group E supremacy and taught a class in defense before Danny Welbeck’s brace gave Three Lions driver’s seat privileges for the rest of qualifying.

[ RELATED: Euro 2016 qualifying preview ]

What else went down on Monday? Glad you asked, but suffice it to say Montenegro (pictured) did well.


Spain 5-1 Macedonia
If Spain is about to fall into the international abyss, it sure didn’t happen on Monday. Sure, they conceded a penalty in the 28th minute, but were already up 2-0 before conceding. Sergio Ramos, David Silva, Paco Alcacer, Sergio Busquets and Pedro Rodriguez all scored for the hosts.

Ukraine 0-1 Slovakia
The only marker of the match came in the 17th minute, when 23-year-old PAOK midfielder Robert Mak netted his fourth career international goal. Ukraine will be fuming after failing to pick up a point at home in an important match.

Luxembourg 1-1 Belarus
The visitors needed a 78th minute goal from Stansilav Dragun to earn a point against plucky Luxembourg, who jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a Lars Gerson (Norrkoping) goal just before half.


Switzerland 0-2 England
Wrote plenty on this in the linked story, but it can’t be understated how well Gary Cahill continues to perform in the center back role. He was one of England’s only effective players at World Cup and is truly understated (even at Chelsea, paired with John Terry).

Estonia 1-0 Slovenia
If England’s win wasn’t the surprise of the day, it was Estonia doing in Slovenia behind Ats Purje’s 87th minute winner. A regular scorer in Finland’s top-flight, Purje netted just his fifth in 45 matches for his nation.

San Marino 0-2 Lithuania
“We prepared very well for this game but we failed in our first target: staying on level terms for as long as possible,” said San Marino head coach Pierangelo Manzaroli of his side’s first ever Euro qualifier.

He wasn’t kidding, as San Marino conceded inside of five minutes. Lithuania fans would have wanted this to be a little easier, but their side did have the game well in hand by the 36th minute. That’s when Arvydas Novikovas made it 2-0.


Russia 4-0 Liechtenstein
With a pair of own goals joining a penalty as three of Russia’s tallies, it was Artyom Dzyuba’s first international goal that stands out in an easy win that could’ve been even wider.

Austria 1-1 Sweden
David Alaba scored in the 7th minute, only to see Erkan Zengin equalize for the visitors five minutes later. Both sides will be pleased enough to snare a point in their debut matches. Well, Zlatan Ibrahimovic probably won’t be, as he did not score. Drawing in Austria and not scoring is not daring to Zlatan.

Montenegro 2-0 Moldova
The Brave Falcons triumphed at home despite not having Stevan Jovetic. With 57 percent possession and a 14-5 edge in shots attempted, Montenegro deserved the points.

Group A: Latvia at Kazakhstan, Turkey at Iceland, Netherlands at Czech Republic
Group B: Wales at Andorra, Cyprus at Bosnia-Herzegovina, Belgium at Israel
Group H: Bulgaria at Azerbaijan, Malta at Croatia, Italy at Norway