Eurocup: from dramatic rankings to North Macedonia’s feat

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Scotland and Hungary, two traditional teams from the Old Continent, celebrated with penalties and a goal in injury time, respectively.

In a day of emotions until the last minute, those selected from Scotland, Slovakia, Hungary Y North macedonia they got their place in the next edition of the Euro by winning the finals of the qualifying playoffs. In this way, the 24 teams were defined that between June 11 and July 11 of next year will contest the continental contest that was to take place this year and was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Serbia and Scotland had to go all the way to penalties to settle the ticket that was put into play under a deluge at the Rajko Mitić stadium in Belgrade. In the first half, they respected each other a lot and devoted much more interest to securing zero in their own goal than to looking for that goal that would catapult them to the goal.

In the complement, the two came out somewhat more determined and the British team, who had reached this commitment with an undefeated seven games, struck at 7 minutes: after an error in the start of Filip Kostic, Ryan Christie He received his back in the crescent, turned and dispatched a low left-foot, not very powerful but cornering, which left the goalkeeper without a chance Predrag Rajkovic.

Everything seemed aimed so that those led by Steve Clarke, who had just eliminated Israel in the previous round, were left with the victory, but on the hour, after a corner from the left, Luka Jovic He headed his head and sent the definition to the supplementary.

In overtime, the weariness of the Scots body became evident, and they dedicated themselves to holding on. The Balkans searched for him until the last second, but could not avoid penalties.

In the series of spikes from the 12 steps, the first nine players were infallible. Until it was the turn of Aleksandar Mitrovic, who could not with the goalkeeper David Marshall, the hero of the night in Belgrade.

In this way, the Scots achieved after 24 years qualification for the continental competition, in which they will share group D with Croatia, Czech Republic and their English neighbors.

With England, Scotland Y Gales Inside, the British had a chance to score their four picks in the Euro, but North Ireland snatched his ticket Slovakia, who prevailed 2-1 in overtime at Windsor Park in Belfast.

The Slovaks, who had changed coaches last month (Stefan Tarkovic replaced Pavel Hapal) despite the victory on penalties against the Republic of Ireland in the playoff semi-final, they took advantage with a goal from the Parma midfielder Juraj Kucka 17 minutes into the first half.

But three minutes from the end of the game, the Inter defender Milan Škriniar, with a faulty rejection, beat his archer Marek Rodák and stretched the uncertainty. Despite that, the visit did not shrink and ended up prevailing in the supplementary with a goal of Michal Ďuriš.

In their second participation in the Euro (the first was in France 2016: they fell in the round of 16 against Germany), Slovakia will be part of group E along with Spain, Sweden and Poland.

The great comeback of the day consummated her Hungary, which defeated Iceland 2-1 at the Puskás Arena in Budapest and thus obtained for the fourth time in its history a place in the continental competition of national teams.

At 11 minutes into the first half, Gylfi Sigurdsson, with a free kick, he advanced to the Icelandic team, one of the great surprises of European football in recent years (he participated in Euro 2016 in France and the 2018 World Cup in Russia, in which he achieved a historic draw against Argentina).

The Nordics had the ticket in their pocket, but 43 minutes into the second half Loïc Nego restored parity. And in added time, the Magyars turned it around with a goal from their great hope, the midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai, barely 20 years old. In this way, they will be rivals of France, Germany and Portugal in zone F, which someone with little imagination could call “the group of death”.

The big news at the next Euro will be the presence of North macedonia, which for the first time in its history achieved qualification for a major tournament by defeating 1-0 away from Georgia at the Dinamo Arena in Tbilisi with a goal from the stainless Goran Pandev, 37 years old.

The striker, who played for the first time a match with his team’s jersey in June 2001, closed a good associated maneuver that he had embroidered 10 minutes into the complement with Elif Elmas e Ilija Nestorovski and thus sealed the final 1 to 0 that left the Georgians empty-handed, who were also looking for their first qualification to the Euro.

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