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England Ties to Claim Spot at 2012 European Soccer Championship

Oct. 8 (Bloomberg) -- England, playing with 10 men, held on for a 2-2 tie against Montenegro to clinch a berth at the 2012 European soccer championship.

Andrija Delibasic’s goal in injury time earned Montenegro the home draw in Podorica. Ashley Young and Darren Bent gave England a 2-0 lead before Elsad Zverotic answered just before halftime. England’s Wayne Rooney received a red card in the 74th minute for kicking out at Miodrag Dzudovic.

The tie enabled England to win Group G, with Montengro guaranteed second place with one match left. The winners of the nine groups, along with the second-place team with the most points, qualify for Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. The remaining eight second-place teams will play off for the final four spots.

“We’re a little bit disappointed after being 2-0 up, we’re disappointed to end up drawing the game,” England captain John Terry told Sky Sports. “But it’s a great thing to get where we’ve got, we’re top and we’ve worked hard all the way.”

Greece moved atop its group with one match remaining, as already-qualified Spain, Germany and the Netherlands maintained their perfect records.

Greece beat Croatia 2-0 to take the lead in Group F by two points over its opponent. Greece needs one point at Georgia in its final qualifier to win the group.

European and World Cup champion Spain made it seven straight wins in Group I with a 2-0 win in the Czech Republic and Germany won its ninth straight in Group A, 3-1 in Turkey.

The Netherlands also made it nine in a row by beating Moldova 1-0 to win Group E, while Sweden clinched second with a 2-1 win in Finland. Group C winner Italy drew 1-1 in Serbia.

France beat Albania 3-0 to keep its one-point lead in Group D over Bosnia-Herzegovina, which routed Luxembourg 5-0. France and Bosnia-Herzegovina meet in the group finale Oct. 11.

The race for the top two places in Group B will go to the final game after Russia, Ireland and Armenia all won. Russia beat Slovakia 1-0 and leads the group with 20 points, Ireland has 18 points following a 2-0 win in Andorra and Armenia has 17 points after its 4-1 win against Macedonia.

Portugal beat Iceland 5-3 and Denmark topped Cyprus 4-1 to leave them tied for the lead in Group H with 16 points, three more than idle Norway.

The final round of Euro 2012 qualifiers will be played on Oct. 11.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at bbensch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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