Spain take Portugal to Nations League final while Czechs go down

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Alvaro Morata (C) nabbed a late winner as Spain qualified for the Nations League finals in place of Portugal

MIGUEL RIOPA

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ADDS quote from Morata, Clarke

Alvaro Morata’s late goal gave Spain a 1-0 win in Portugal and a place in the UEFA Nations League finals on Tuesday, while the Czech Republic were relegated from the top flight after a defeat in Switzerland.

Portugal, first Nations League winners in 2019, needed just a point in Braga to top Group A2 but fell back to second place when Morata found Nico Williams’ header in the 88th minute.

“When we had to get up, we did it,” Morata told TVE. “When we lost we had to give everything we had on the pitch and we did.”

Spain join the Netherlands, Italy and Croatia in the finals scheduled for June next year.

Switzerland, who beat Spain 2-1 in Zaragoza on Saturday, were indebted to goalkeeper Yann Sommer, who saved a second-half penalty to secure victory over the Czechs.

Remo Freuler and Breel Embolo scored within a minute in the first half in St. Gallen, but Patrik Schick equalized before the break.

Schick saw Sommer save his second-half penalty as the Swiss won 2-1 and sentenced the Czech Republic to relegation to League B.

Scotland rose to League A after a 0-0 draw with Ukraine in Kraków after beating the same opponents 3-0 in Glasgow last week.

“We don’t want to stop, we want to keep getting better,” said Scotland manager Steve Clarke.

“These players are keen to do well for their country and have had a great week.”

Robbie Brady’s added-time penalty gave the Republic of Ireland a 3-2 win over Armenia in Dublin in their other Group B1 game.

Ireland captains John Egan and Michael Obafemi gave the hosts a two-goal lead but Armenia equalized when Artak Dashyan and Eduard Spertsyan struck in quick succession.

Dashyan and Hovhannes Hambartsumyan were sent off to leave nine-man Armenia as Brady’s winner saw the Irishman finish third in the group.

Serbia finished first ahead of Norway in Group B as forward duo Dusan Vlahovic and Aleksandar Mitrovic scored in a 2-0 win in Oslo.

Mitrovic’s goal was his 50th at international level. He scored a hat-trick in Saturday’s 4-1 win against Sweden.

Sweden are relegated to League C after a 1-1 draw with Slovenia in Solna, where Emil Forsberg canceled out Benjamin Sesko’s opener for the visitors.

Greece scored five wins out of six in Group C2 as they defeated Northern Ireland 3-1 in Athens. Kosovo defeated Cyprus 5-1 in Pristina.

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