England through to Euro 2012, Russia on brink

Wayne Rooney
London, Oct 8: England clinched its place at the 2012 European Championship despite Wayne Rooney's sending-off in a 2-2 draw at Montenegro, while Croatia missed a chance to reach the finals by losing 2-0 to Greece in the penultimate round of qualifying matches.

Needing at least a draw to win Group G, England was 2-1 up thanks to goals by Ashley Young and Darren Bent yesterday when Rooney was shown a red card in the 74th minute for kicking out at defender Miodrag Dzudovic.

Andrija Delibasic's late equalizer ensured Montenegro clinched a playoff spot while England became the fifth team to qualify for the finals, after defending champion Spain, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. Ukraine and Poland did not need to qualify as host nations.

"He made a silly mistake when he kicked the opponent ... I'm not happy, absolutely," England coach Fabio Capello said of Rooney, who looked to have controlled his temper in recent years. "We will find a solution to play without him (at the start of Euro 2012).

We'll try some things out in the friendlies." Captain John Terry and Capello were both concerned that England's form suffered late in the match. "We let them back in the game and unfortunately they got the goal at the end, but we are through," Terry said.

Greece, European champions in 2004, moved two points above Croatia at the top of Group F with its win in Athens in a match that was suspended for six minutes after crowd trouble early in the game. "I knew we would create chances ... We defended the Croats' counterattacks rather easily," said Greece's Portuguese coach Fernando Santos, who remains undefeated at Greece's helm. 


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