Sergio Ramos and Alvaro Morata both scored penalties as Spain got the better of Sweden on Monday, while the Republic of Ireland and Poland continued their strong starts in qualifying for Euro 2020.
Three-time European champions Spain ran out 3-0 winners in their Group F encounter with the Swedes at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, recovering from the early frustration of seeing a Rodrigo Moreno effort wrongly disallowed for offside.
They won a penalty just after the hour when Sebastian Larsson blocked a Marco Asensio cross with his arm, and captain Ramos converted the spot-kick. It was the Real Madrid defender’s 20th goal for his country, his seventh in his last eight matches.
Morata, who had come on as a second-half substitute, won another penalty late on when he was brought down in the box by Filip Helander, and he duly netted from 12 yards too.
Real Sociedad striker Mikel Oyarzabal, also on from the bench, wrapped up the win with three minutes left.
The result means Luis Enrique’s side have the maximum 12 points from four matches and are five points ahead of Sweden and Romania at the top of the six-team section. The top two teams in each group qualify for the finals.
“These matches are more difficult than the result makes them look,” Morata told Spanish media. “We played well, defended well and we are very happy.”
Romania, who host Spain next in September, eased to a 4-0 win in Malta. Norway, whose only appearance at the Euros so far came in 2000, got their first win of the campaign as they beat the Faroe Islands 2-0 away thanks to a brace from US-born forward Bjorn Johnsen.
Ireland are top of Group D with 10 points from four games after again doing the minimum to get the better of minnows Gibraltar.
Mick McCarthy’s team won 1-0 on the rock in March and won 2-0 against the same opponents this time.
They went ahead in Dublin when David McGoldrick’s wayward shot went in thanks to a wicked deflection off Joseph Chipolina. Robbie Brady then wrapped up the victory at the death.
“If the remit for me was to get 10 points, which I’m sure it was, that job’s done,” McCarthy told Sky Sports.