Northern Ireland, Portugal qualify for Euro 2016; Ireland stuns Germany
BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — Northern Ireland qualified for its first European Championship on Thursday following a 3-1 win over Greece.
Goals from captain Steven Davis and Josh Magennis guarantees Michael O'Neill's side a place in France in June.
"It's a dream come true. We really wanted to get it done tonight and there is no better place than to do it in front of your home fans," Davis said.
"It's a huge achievement for the squad and the entire nation," he added.
Davis opened the scoring from close range in the 35th minute following Stuart Dallas' cross with Magennis doubling the hosts' lead shortly after the interval.
Davis added a third in the 58th when he sent a header into the far corner following a corner to send Windsor Park into raptures. Hristos Aravidis netted a consolation for Greece with four minutes remaining.
The win moves Northern Ireland three points ahead of second-placed Romania following its 1-1 draw against Finland in Bucharest.
Romanian midfielder Ovidu Hoban scored in second-half stoppage time to secure a point after Joel Pohjanpalo had put the visitors ahead in the 66th minute.
Hungary came from behind to beat the Faroe Islands 2-1 in Budapest courtesy of two second-half goals from substitute Daniel Bode.
The home side got off to a poor start with Roaldur Jacobsen giving the minnows the lead in the 11th minute after escaping his marker and beating goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly inside the penalty area.
Bode came on in the second half and quickly made his mark, heading in a pass from Tamas Kadar on the left side in the 63rd minute.
Bode, a striker for Hungary's Ferencvaros, scored again eight minutes later, beating Faroe Islands' goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen after eluding several defenders.
"We've accomplished the minimum target we set for ourselves, which was to secure third place," Kiraly said after the match.
"We had an exemplary performance."
PORTUGAL ALSO QUALIFIES
BRAGA, Portugal (AP) — Portugal beat Denmark 1-0 Thursday and clinched qualification for next year's European Championship, securing top place in Group I.
Denmark stayed second in the group on 12 points, six behind Portugal, and could still advance because third-placed Albania lost 2-0 at home against Serbia to remain on 11 points, though the Albanians have one game left to play while the Danes completed their eight group matches.
Joao Moutinho's 66th-minute goal was enough to send Cristiano Ronaldo's team to France.
In Albania, tension was high for Serbia's visit following a match last year between the countries that was interrupted by violence. The match in Elbasan, central Albania, was policed by more than 2,000 officers, but the game finished without incident.
IRELAND UPSETS GERMANY
DUBLIN (AP) — Ireland substitute Shane Long scored to upset world champion Germany 1-0 and boost its chances of qualification for Euro 2016 on Thursday.
Long struck in the 70th minute, five minutes after coming on, when he took goalkeeper Darren Randolph's kick out over the German defense and blasted past Manuel Neuer to the top corner.
Ireland is assured of at least a playoff place after securing its first ever competitive win over Germany.
With one game in qualifying remaining, Germany tops Group D on 19 points, one ahead of Poland and Ireland, who meet in Warsaw on Sunday.
Robert Lewandowski scored his second goal deep in injury time for Poland to draw 2-2 with Scotland in Glasgow and end the home side's hopes of a playoff.
Georgia defeated Gibraltar 4-0 earlier.