EUROPEAN EUPHORIA: WHO QUALIFIED FOR THE EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
Heartbreak for Northern Ireland but euphoria for Scotland. Slovakia, North Macedonia & Hungary also qualify for the following years European Championships.
Serbia 1-1 Scotland (Scotland win 5-4 on pens)
Scotland qualified for their first major tournament since 1998 with a penalty shoot-out victory over Serbia.
Ryan Christie’s superbly low-driven opener was cancelled out in the dying embers of the 90 thanks to a Luka Jovic header.
Serbia then dominated the Scots throughout extra-time and David Marshall was forced into a wonderful save to his right, to ensure the game remained level.
With no nation scoring a winner, a place in the Euros was to be decided through a penalty shoot-out.
Leigh Griffiths, Scott McTominay, Callum McGregor and Oli McBurnie all dispatched their penalties but were cancelled out by the first four Serbian spot-kick takers.
Kenny McLean put away Scotland’s fifth penalty but David Marshall denied Fulham forward Aleksandar Mitrovic to give Scotland a place at a major international tournament for the first time in over two decades.
Scotland join Croatia, Czech Republic and fellow Great British side England to make up group D.
Northern Ireland 1-2 Slovakia
Michal Duris’ extra-time goal for Slovakia prevented Northern Ireland from reaching successive European Championships.
Slovakia took an early first-half lead after a mix up between George Saville and Jonny Evans allowed Juraj Kucka to storm through on goal and the Parma midfielder made no mistake.
But there was plenty of time to go and with three minutes of the 90 to play, Paddy McNair’s surging run and cross bounced in off Milan Skriniar to send the game into extra-time.
Northern Ireland had the initiative going into extra-time, but the Slovaks regained their lead when a long ball forward was finished lethally by Duris, confirming Slovakia’s place at the 2021 Championships.
Hungary 2-1 Iceland
Late goals from Dominik Szoboszlai and Loic Nego fired Hungary to the European Championships with a 2-1 win over Iceland.
Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson gave Iceland the lead when his close-range free-kick was fumbled into his own goal by Peter Gulacsi.
Despite being behind Hungary responded well, dominating the majority of the game and were awarded when a goal-mouth scramble fell to the feet of Nego who poked in the equaliser.
The comeback was completed when Szoboszlai expertly finished his marauding run into the Iceland half, securing Hungary’s place in next summer’s tournament.
Georgia 0-1 North Macedonia
North Macedonia secured their place at the rescheduled Euro 2020 thanks to a 1-0 playoff victory over Georgia.
Former Inter Milan forward Goran Pandev slotted home the winner in the second half to send North Macedonia to their first-ever major tournament.
Igor Angelovski’s side earnt their play-off spot by finishing top of Nations League group D4, and will now join Netherlands, Ukraine and Austria in group C next summer.
Georgia dominated the opening 45 but couldn’t take their chances, and they were made to pay in the second half when Ilija Nestorovski’s first-time pass picked out Pandev who poked home the only goal of the game.