Germany, Croatia seal their spots

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Thebdexpress

The Netherlands, Germany and World Cup finalists Croatia qualified for Euro 2020 on Saturday as the trio booked their places at next summer’s finals.

Austria also made it through to the tournament, which kicks off in Rome on June 12, with 16 sides now ensured of a spot at the 24-team event and only four places remaining from the main qualifying route.

They join other big names such like world champions France, Spain and England.

Ronald Koeman’s Dutch needed a point to qualify for their first major tournament since coming third at the 2014 World Cup and got what they needed in a goalless draw with Northern Ireland in Belfast.

The draw allowed fierce rivals Germany to move top in the group as Toni Kroos hit a brace in a simple 4-0 win over Belarus in Moenchengladbach which saw them qualify for the Euros for the 13th time in a row.

“Overall we did well, but at the moment I don’t include us among the favourites for the European title,” said Kroos, echoing coach Joachim Loew’s comments from earlier in the week.

Meanwhile, Croatia survived a scare to secure their place in the Euros after coming from behind beat Slovakia 3-1 in Rijeka.

The World Cup runners up needed just a point to ensure qualification from Group E but Robert Bozenik stunned the home crowd when he tapped the away side ahead in the 32nd minute.

However it was one-way traffic in the second half and Croatia’s qualification was never in doubt once Nikola Vlasic drilled home the leveller.

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