Portugal goes to Euro 2016; Denmark, Albania seek 2nd spot

BRAGA, Portugal (AP) Portugal beat Denmark 1-0 Thursday and clinched qualification for next year’s European Championship, securing top place in Group I.

Denmark stayed second in the group on 12 points, six behind Portugal, and could still advance because third-placed Albania lost 2-0 at home against Serbia to remain on 11 points, though the Albanians have one game left to play while the Danes completed their eight group matches.

In Albania, tension was high for Serbia’s visit following a match last year between the countries that was interrupted by violence. The match in Elbasan, central Albania, was policed by more than 2,000 officers, but the game finished without incident.

Injury time goals from Aleksandar Kolarov and Adem Ljajic gave Serbia a late win.

Denmark didn’t make things easy for the fourth-ranked team in the world and held out for more than an hour till Joao Moutinho’s strike sent Cristiano Ronaldo’s team to France.

Portugal had to fight back from a shock home defeat in its opening qualifier, when it was upset 1-0 at home by Albania and coach Paulo Bento stepped down. Under new coach Fernando Santos, the Portuguese won their following six Group I games.

””We started badly and ended well,” Cristiano Ronaldo said. ”With Fernando Santos, we’ve gained an extra edge.”

Nani hit the Danish woodwork in the first half, and Nicklas Bendtner hit the post at the other end.