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England Through To Euros 2012, Russia And Greece Close To Qualifying

England became the seventh team to qualify for EURO 2012 on Friday on a night when Russia and Greece took huge steps towards joining them and the likes of Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina ensured top-two finishes.

Last month holders Spain and former European champions Italy, the Netherlands and Germany ensured their finals berths alongside co-hosts Poland and Ukraine, and to that number can be added England after their 2-2 draw in Montenegro settled Group G. Montenegro came from two down and have booked a play-off spot as runners-up, with Switzerland unable to catch them after losing 2-0 in Wales.

There was a change of leadership following the other direct meeting between the top two in a section, with Greece beating Croatia 2-0 to give themselves a two-point advantage in Group F. The 2004 winners need only a draw in Georgia on Tuesday to qualify.

Meanwhile, in Group B, Russia came away from Slovakia 1-0 winners and require a point at home to Andorra to clinch first place. The Republic of Ireland, two points behind, can still finish top but are under threat for second from Armenia, who defeated the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 4-1. Armenia will overtake Ireland with a win in Dublin on Tuesday.

Two other sections will go to direct deciders. France beat Albania 3-0 and remain a point ahead of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Group D, the second-placed team overcoming Luxembourg 5-0 to ensure they cannot be caught by Romania for second position even if they fail to defeat France in their last outing.

Portugal defeated Iceland 5-3 in Group H, where they remain level on points at the top with the team they visit on Tuesday, Denmark, who won 4-1 in Cyprus. Denmark must win that game to come top, with Norway now all but out having not played on Friday.

Denmark and Portugal are also pushing to be the best runner-up, an honour currently in the hands of Sweden. Although the Netherlands won Group E by defeating Moldova 1-0, Sweden triumphing 2-1 in Finland to end Hungary’s hopes; if they beat the Oranje on Tuesday they will qualify automatically.

Estonia came from behind to prevail 2-1 in Northern Ireland and finish their Group C fixtures in second place. They can only lose it if Serbia win in eliminated Slovenia on Tuesday following a 1-1 draw against Italy. Belgium also moved into second in Group A after they beat Kazakhstan 4-1 and Turkey lost 3-1 at home to Germany.

The nine pool winners, plus the runners-up with the best record against the sides placed first, third, fourth and fifth in their pool qualify directly, with the other second-placed teams entering the play-offs.