Scotland, Slovakia, Hungary and North Macedonia reach Euro 2020 Finals

Here's how the final four teams booked their tickets to the 2020 UEFA European Championships in 2021

By Ken Browne

It was joy for Scotland, Slovakia, Hungary, and North Macedonia who all qualified for Euro 2020 on a dramatic night of European football.

Scotland qualified for their first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup after they beat Serbia 5-4 on penalties having led 1-0 until Luka Jovic equalised in the 90th minute.

Slovakia and Northern Ireland also went to extra time in Belfast with Michal Duris scoring in the 110th minute to send the visitors through and secure their first Euro finals berth since the breakup of Czechoslovakia.

History too for North Macedonia who reached their first major tournament in their 27-year history having changed name from Macedonia last year.

Wild celebrations broke out across Hungary after two late goals saw them come from behind to defeat Iceland 2-1 in Budapest.

Euro 2020 Playoff Final Results:

Path A: Hungary 2-1 Iceland

Path B: Northern Ireland 1-2 Slovakia

Path C: Serbia 1-1 Scotland (Scotland win 5-4 on penalties)

Path D: Georgia 0-1 North Macedonia

Who has qualified for Euro 2020?

The 24 teams now confirmed for Euro 2020 after tonight's Playoff Finals are:

Group A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland

Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia

Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, North Macedonia

Group D: England, Croatia, Scotland, Czech Republic

Group E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, Slovakia

Group F: Hungary, Portugal, France, Germany

The 24 teams will play across 12 European cities in 12 different countries from 11 June to 11 July 2021, celebrating the 60th 'birthday' of the European Championships.

The tournament was delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wembley Stadium in London is scheduled to host the semi-finals and final of the tournament.

Tears of joy for Scotland

Scotland had high hopes of a first major tournament in 23 years, and led 1-0 until the 90th minute of normal time when Real Madrid's Luka Jovic headed home to send the tie to extra time.

Jovic cancelled out Ryan Christie's low drive in the 52nd minute which went in off the post in the torrential rain in Belgrade.

Serbia looked the more likely to grab a winner in the 30 minutes of extra time, but the Scots held on and held their nerve in the penalty shootout.

Goalkeeper David Marshall was the hero of the hour, saving Aleksandar Mitrovic's effort low to his left after nine successful spot-kicks, to send Scotland through to their first major tournament for 22 years and set up another instalment of the world's oldest international fixture against the 'auld enemy' England.

Christie was in tears in his post-match interview to Sky Sports.

"Just an amazing night," he said, "from the start we believed, we picked up so much belief from each other. Conceding that late equaliser we still dug in then penalties away from home... unbelievable. Oh God, it’s been a horrible year for everyone. We knew that coming into the game and I hope everyone back home is having a party tonight because of everything we’ve been through over the years."

Euphoria for Slovakia

There was late drama too at Windsor Park, Belfast, as Northern Ireland forced an 87th minute own goal to cancel out Juraj Jucka's 17th minute strike.

But the visiting side had too much quality in the end and conjured a winner through Michal Duris, securing their safe passage to the European Championships.

Jucka's early goal prompted a defensive mindset from Slovakia and Northern Ireland laid siege to the visitor's area, firing in crosses and penning the Slovaks back, roared on by the few thousand distanced fans who almost made it feel like a full stadium at times through the noise they made.

When it looked like Slovakia would hold out, one of Northern Ireland's countless crosses somehow ended up in the net via Milan Skriniar.

But a Duris' low drive that beat Peacock-Farrell at the near post on 110' was end-game for Northern Ireland and euphoria for Slovakia.

Goran Pandev the hero for North Macedonia

North Macedonia are celebrating qualification for their first ever major tournament with veteran striker Goran Pandev the hero once more.

The 37-year-old flicked the ball past Georgian goalkeeper Giorgi Loria in the 56th minute to make it 1-0 and that was enough to win the game and send home fans into wild celebration.

It was a scrappy match on a slippery pitch in the Dinamo Arena, Tblisi, and Georgia had no answer to Pandev's solitary strike.

The win means North Macedonia will face the Netherlands, Austria and Ukraine in Group C, with matches in Bucharest and Amsterdam.

Hungary break Iceland hearts

Hungary will play at Euro 2020 after a thrilling comeback against Iceland to win 2-1 in the Puskas Arena in Budapest.

Gylfi Sigurdsson put Iceland ahead with an 11th minute free kick but Hungary scored twice in two minutes at the end to dash Icelandic hopes of a third straight major tournament.

Substitute Loic Nego levelled it up in the 88th before RB Salzburg star Dominik Szoboszlai, who had described this as the most important match of his career, scored the most important goal of his career deep into stoppage time.

His goal was spectacular, beating Iceland 'keeper Hannes Thor Halldórsson with a superb strike into the far corner from just outside the penalty area.

Despair for Iceland, delight for Hungary, who will meet the might of Portugal, France and Germany in Group F.

The Olympic connection: Tokyo 2020 men's football qualification

Three of the four nations in the Euro 2020 Finals - France, Germany and Spain - already have teams qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021:

Romania, who didn't make Euro 2020 having lost to Iceland in their playoff semi-final, will also feature at the Games in Japan.

All four teams qualified at the 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, where Spain beat Germany in the final.

Romania fell to Germany and France to Spain in the semi-finals, but making it that far secured them a spot in Tokyo.


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