Two more countries booked their place at Euro 2016 after tonight's games

Meanwhile, David De Gea had a stormer for Spain.

Slovakia advanced automatically.
Slovakia advanced automatically.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

SLOVAKIA BOOKED THEIR ticket to Euro 2016 on Monday with a 4-2 victory in Luxembourg that saw them secure second place in qualifying Group C.

Slovakia finish behind defending European champions Spain, who had already qualified and came away with a 1-0 win over Ukraine, with the Euro 2012 co-hosts settling for a place in the play-offs after finishing third.

It is the first time that Slovakia have qualified for the continental championship since Czechoslovakia split in 1993.

Earlier, Russia secured their ticket to France with a 2-0 win against Montenegro in Group G that condemned Sweden to third place and a spot in the play-offs next month.

Slovakia and 2018 World Cup hosts’ Russia join Germany, Poland, Albania, Romania, Wales, Belgium, Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic, England, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and hosts France in having secured their place in the 24-team finals.

Two further berths will be attributed on Tuesday night, in the final round of direct qualifying.

The top two teams in each group as well as the best third-placed team qualify for the finals automatically. Eight other third-placed teams enter play-offs next mont with France qualifying as hosts.

The draw for the play-offs will take place this Sunday.

Spain ended Ukraine’s hopes of automatic qualification with that win thanks to Mario Gaspar’s goal on his international debut.

Cesc Fabregas also missed a penalty on his 100th cap, but Spain were grateful to a fantastic goalkeeping display from David de Gea to seal an eighth consecutive win in Group C.

Ukraine Spain Euro Soccer David de Gea was in inspired form tonight. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Ukraine finished third and will now face a two-legged playoff in November to try and make it through.

“I always try to do my best and today I played well, but the most important thing was to win,” De Gea told Television Espanola.

De Gea has had to wait for his opportunities in the national team despite stunning performances for Manchester United in the past two seasons, but his latest display will only add to the call for Vicente del Bosque to start him ahead of captain Iker Casillas at the finals next June.

“I have to compete as best I can. Today I had some luck, but I need to continue playing like this,” added De Gea.

Ukraine had plenty of opportunities to take advantage of an inexperienced Spanish back four that had just 11 caps between them prior to kick-off, but a combination of some poor finishing and De Gea kept the hosts at bay.

De Gea was called into action for the first time as he turned Kravets’s shot from a narrow angle behind before somehow turning Rotan’s volley over the bar with an outstretched leg on 15 minutes.

However, the hosts were caught out by a wonderful move from the visitors five minutes later to open the scoring as Nolito and Thiago Alcantara exchanged passes and the latter marked his first international appearance for 19 months with a lovey cross for Gaspar to head home.

Del Bosque’s men had a great chance to double their lead moments later when Fabregas was brought down by Oleksandr Kucher inside the area.

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However, Spain’s captain for the evening couldn’t convert from the spot as Andrey Pyatov flew to his left to pull of a fine save.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was in the crowd reportedly keeping an eye on Dynamo Kiev winger Andriy Yarmolenko ahead of the English champions clash with the Ukrainians next week.

And Yarmolenko came alive at the start of the second period as he smashed a shot off the outside of the post.

Tonight’s Euro 2016 qualifying results:

Group C:

  • Belarus 0-0 Macedonia
  • Luxembourg 2-4 Slovakia
  • San Marino 0-2 Slovenia

Group E:

  • Estonia 0-1 Switzerland
  • Lithuania 0-3 England
  • San Marino 0-2 Slovenia

Group G:

  • Austria 3-0 Liechtenstein
  • Russia 3-0 Montenegro
  • Sweden 2-0 Moldova

- © AFP, 2015

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