MADRID: Spain wrapped up their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 5-0 win at home to Romania amid doubts over Robert Moreno’s future as national team coach with media reports swirling that Luis Enrique could return to the role.
Fabian Ruiz put Spain in front after eight minutes while forward Gerard Moreno struck twice and then forced an own goal from Romania’s Adrian Rus before the break, with Mikel Oyarzabal hitting the fifth in second-half stoppage time.
Moreno’s position was called into question before kick off as several media reports said he would not take charge of the side at next year’s European Championship.
Reports suggested Luis Enrique could make a shock return, having left the role in June after his daughter Xana was diagnosed with cancer and tragically passed away in September.
Moreno, Luis Enrique’s long-time assistant coach who succeeded him in June, did not give the usual post-match news conference or speak to any media, while players were unable to confirm whether or not he was going to continue in the role.
Midfielder Saul Niguez said: “We don’t know anything, I can’t speculate. Robert’s work has been reflected on the pitch and we’re all happy with him.”
Romania coach Cosmin Contra confirmed after the game that he would leave his role when his contract expires in December.
Unbeaten Spain ended the campaign with 26 points from 10 games, five points ahead of Sweden who also qualified for next year’s tournament. Romania finished fourth with 14.
Italy hit nine
Italy thumped Armenia 9-1 to complete their Euro 2020 qualifying group with a perfect record and extend their record-breaking run to 11 successive international wins as they looked forward to next year’s tournament.
Twenty-year-old Nicolo Zaniolo scored a brace, his first international goals, while Ciro Immobile also scored twice as Italy, already qualified, completed Group J with 30 points from their 10 games.
Nicolo Barella, Alessio Romagnoli, Jorginho, debutant Riccardo Orsolini and Federico Chiesa shared the other goals.
Italy also beat the United States in a friendly before the group stage began and their winning run is the longest in their 109-year history.
Armenia finished fifth with 10 points and were eliminated as they cannot qualify through the playoffs.
“I think we have the basis to become a great team for many years,” said coach Roberto Mancini. “All of our young players are improving – playing international football adds to the quality they already possess.
“We have got six months to prepare for the European Championship and it is going to be difficult to decide who to leave out of the final 23.”
Italy have scored nine goals or more in a game on three occasions — in a friendly against France in 1920 which they won 9-4 and in Olympic Games matches against Egypt in 1932, which they won 11-3, and the United States in 1948 when they won 9-0.
In the other games, Finland, who guaranteed second place on Friday to qualify for their first major tournament, lost 2-1 in Greece while Bosnia won 3-0 away to Liechtenstein. Bosnia could still qualify through the playoffs in March.