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Russia’s Denis Cheryshev celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA EURO 2020, Group I qualifying soccer match between Cyprus and Russia at the GSP stadium in Nicosia, Cyprus. - EPA
Russia’s Denis Cheryshev celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA EURO 2020, Group I qualifying soccer match between Cyprus and Russia at the GSP stadium in Nicosia, Cyprus. - EPA

PARIS: Poland and Russia secured their places at Euro 2020 on Sunday with victories over North Macedonia and Cyprus respectively.

Russia eased to a 5-0 thrashing of 10-man Cyprus, with Poland joining them, Belgium and Italy in qualifying this week by seeing off North Macedonia 2-0.

Stanislav Cherchesov’s Russia, who reached the World Cup quarter-finals on home soil last year, only had to avoid defeat in Nicosia to follow Belgium in qualifying from Group I.

Valencia winger Denis Cheryshev fired in a ninth-minute opener for the visitors, before Magomed Ozdoev, who scored a fabulous long-range strike on Thursday against Scotland, made it two midway through the first half.

Russia’s Artem Dzyuba celebrates after scoring a goal against Cyprus at the GSP stadium in Nicosia, Cyprus. - EPA
Russia’s Artem Dzyuba celebrates after scoring a goal against Cyprus at the GSP stadium in Nicosia, Cyprus. - EPA

Any thoughts of a Cyprus comeback were ended in just the 28th minute when Kostas Laifis was dismissed for a nasty lunge on Russian full-back Sergei Petrov.

Striker Artem Dzyuba scored his third goal in two games in the 79th minute, before Aleksandr Golovin and Cheryshev’s second completed the rout late on.

Russia will attempt to overtake Belgium, who beat Kazakhstan 2-0 earlier on Sunday, at the summit when they host the world’s number one side on November 16.

The European Championship finals, which start on June 12 next year, are being held at 12 different venues across the continent, including Saint Petersburg in Russia.

Poland's Przemyslaw Frankowski celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA EURO 2020 group G qualifying match between Poland and North Macedonia at PGE National stadium in Warsaw, Poland. - EPA
Poland's Przemyslaw Frankowski celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA EURO 2020 group G qualifying match between Poland and North Macedonia at PGE National stadium in Warsaw, Poland. - EPA

Poland went into their game against North Macedonia knowing victory would punch their ticket for the Euros.

They were forced to be patient by the visitors, who could qualify through the playoffs after winning their Nations League group if they fail to do so automatically.

But Przemyslaw Frankowski prodded home less than 60 seconds after coming on as a substitute in the 74th minute, before Akardiusz Milik made the points safe.

Poland's forward Arkadiusz Milik vies for the ball with Macedonia's defender Visar Musliu (left) during the Euro 2020 qualifier Group G football match Poland v Macedonia in Warsaw, Poland. - AFP
Poland's forward Arkadiusz Milik vies for the ball with Macedonia's defender Visar Musliu (left) during the Euro 2020 qualifier Group G football match Poland v Macedonia in Warsaw, Poland. - AFP

Poland remain three points clear of Austria, who won 1-0 in Slovenia, at the top of Group G, with North Macedonia and Slovenia five points further adrift. - AFP

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