- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 8, 2015

MADRID (AP) - A record-breaking goal by Wayne Rooney kept England’s winning streak going in European Championship qualifying on Tuesday, while Austria qualified for a major tournament for the first time in 18 years by securing its place at next year’s finals in France.

Rooney scored his 50th international goal by converting a late penalty at Wembley Stadium to seal England’s 2-0 win over Switzerland and break Bobby Charlton’s 45-year-old record.

“To be the country’s all-time leading goalscorer before the age of 30 is not something I could ever have dreamed of,” the 29-year-old Rooney said. “I was a bit emotional out there and it’s something to be extremely proud of. I’m happy it’s done and hopefully I can kick on from here and concentrate on the team and our success in the future.”

England had already qualified in Group E. The Swiss remained second and in position to advance despite the loss.

In Skopje, defending European champion Spain struggled against Macedonia but earned a 1-0 victory thanks to an early own goal by goalkeeper Tome Pacovski. Spain has a comfortable lead in Group C, ahead of Slovakia and Ukraine.

The top two teams in each of the nine groups automatically qualify for next year’s tournament. The best third-place team also qualifies automatically, and the eight remaining third-place teams go to a playoff.

Here is a look at Tuesday’s Euro 2016 qualifiers:



Spain virtually secured its berth in the European Championship with a lackluster 1-0 win over Macedonia, the winner coming after a lucky bounce early in the match.

Juan Mata’s cross from the right side sailed over goalkeeper Tome Pacovski and the ball ricocheted off the far post and the keeper’s face before crossing the line.

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque complained about his team’s disappointing performance, but the three points kept the 2008 and 2012 champions in control of their group. A home victory against Luxembourg on Oct. 9 will guarantee Spain a place at Euro 2016.

Slovakia remained in second place after a 0-0 away draw against third-place Ukraine. Slovakia is two points behind Spain and three in front of Ukraine.

Already-eliminated Belarus defeated Luxembourg 2-0 at home.



Wayne Rooney broke England’s scoring record as the hosts maintained their perfect record after eight matches in European Championship qualifying with a 2-0 win over Switzerland.

With England already qualified, all eyes were on Rooney’s quest to break Bobby Charlton’s record at Wembley, and he didn’t miss his chance by converting a late penalty kick.

“I knew myself it was a big moment for me and I just picked my corner and put my boot through it to get as much power as possible and make it hard for the keeper,” Rooney said. “He got a touch but thankfully it had too much power.”

Switzerland could have qualified with a win if Slovenia-Estonia had been a draw, but Slovenia won 1-0 at home. All three teams remain in the hunt for the second automatic qualifying spot. Switzerland has 15 points with Slovenia on 12 and Estonia on 10 with two rounds of games remaining.

Lithuania needed an injury-time winner to beat San Marino 2-1 in a game both teams finished with 10 men.



Austria made it to next year’s European Championship with a 4-1 win over Sweden, qualifying for a major tournament for the first time since it secured a place at the 1998 World Cup.

Austria did play at Euro 2008, its only appearance in the competition to date, but only because it was awarded a place as a co-host.

Martin Harnik grabbed two goals for Austria in a dominant display, while David Alaba converted a ninth-minute penalty and Marc Janko also scored. Zlatan Ibrahimovic struck in stoppage time to give Sweden a consolation goal.

Austria qualifies for the tournament in France unbeaten with seven wins and a draw and is already assured of topping Group G. After the final whistle in Sweden, the Austrians celebrated in front of their fans, waving large Austrian flags emblazoned with the words: “France, we’re coming.”

Russia climbed into the second automatic qualifying spot in Group G by beating 10-man Liechtenstein 7-0, with Artyom Dzyuba scoring four goals. The Russians are eight points behind Austria and two ahead of Sweden.

Also in contention to qualify is fourth-placed Montenegro, one point behind Sweden after a 2-0 win in Moldova.


AP Sports writers Mattias Karen in London and James Ellingworth in Moscow contributed to this report.

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