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JOHANSEN FACES PLAY-OFF

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CELTIC star Stefan Johansen will have to negotiate a play-off if Norway are to reach the finals of the European Championships in France.

The midfielder captained his country to a 2-1 defeat from Italy in Rome that left them in third place behind the Italians and Croatia in Group H.

With 18 minutes left to play Norway were in top spot after taking the lead through Alexander Tettey while Croatia were in front away to Malta.

The Italians had already qualified, but levelled the scores through Alessandro Florenzi with that goal dropping Norway from first to third.

With eight minutes left, Southampton’s Graziano Pelle ensured that there would be no comeback when he put Italy 2-1 in front. Croatia’s 1-0 win in Malta takes them through in second place to Italy.

Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland, who emerged from Scotland’s group, will also be in Sunday’s draw for the play-off games.

Former Celts Joe Ledley and Adam Matthews (if selected) will be heading to France with Wales and they completed their campaign in front of a party-like crowd at the Cardiff City Stadium with a 2-0 win over Andorra with goals from Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale.

England and Northern Ireland have also qualified for the Finals. If O’Neill’s men get through their play-off it will leave the Scots as the odd one out. In the cold light of day this is an embarrassment for a once respected footballing nation. The SFA have failed Scotland.

 
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