Hungary joins France’s Euro group

The Hungarian players celebrate their epic qualification for the Euro, following their victory against Iceland, in Budapest on Thursday 12 November.

Epic end to the match in Budapest: Hungary qualified for the Euro, where it will find a “group of death” bringing together France, Portugal and Germany, thanks to its victory in the very last moments against Iceland 2-1 in Budapest, Thursday 12 November. Finalist of the 1938 and 1954 World Cups, it is the second Euro in a row for Hungary.

Led throughout the match, the Hungarians waited for the 88e minute to find the net and score in quick succession, thus obtaining their ticket for Euro-2020 – which has been postponed until next summer due to the epidemic linked to the coronavirus – thanks to the liberating goal in time addition of their 20 year old nugget, Dominik Szoboszlai.

The Icelandic recipe has worked for a long time: after quickly opening the scoring (11e) thanks to a free kick from their star striker Gylfi Sigurdsson badly negotiated by the Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi, they adopted a more wait-and-see position, allowing them to proceed against.

The Hungarians, at home, in the modern empty Puskas Arena, stumbled over the Icelandic block and their goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson, showing himself especially dangerous on stopped phases. The team of Italian coach Marco Rossi, absent from the bench because positive for the coronavirus, has always believed in it, pushing to the end and this mess in the defense of the “Vikings”, which Loïc Nego was able to take advantage of (88e).

The Hungarian hero is called Dominik Szoboszlai.  The 20-year-old is the decisive scorer for his country's qualification for the Euro, Thursday, November 12, in Budapest.

Extra time was looming, but the young Szoboszlai, who bursts the screen at RB Salzburg, made the difference on his own in added time, after a breakthrough in the heart of the Icelandic defense concluded with a clear strike leaving no chance for the keeper (90e+2).

The Hungarian selection will find the Puskas Arena next June, since it will host Portugal, European champion there on June 15, then the French world champions on the 19th, before going to challenge Germany at home in Munich on the 23rd.

The Icelanders will therefore not participate in the second Euro in their history after a good run during the previous edition in France in 2016, where they had attracted the sympathy of the public before being eliminated by the Blues in the quarter-finals.

Macedonian supporters celebrate their country's qualification in the streets of Skopje after the victory in Georgia on Thursday 12 November.

Of the two candidates for a first major competition in their history, it was North Macedonia that finally emerged on Thursday against Georgia, beaten 1-0 in Tbilisi.

Dominated throughout the first half by the locals, the Macedonians were liberated by a goal from their most illustrious player, Genoa striker Goran Pandev, in the 56e minute. At 37, the captain offered his country, independent since 1991, a historic ticket for Group C of the Euro.

In one of the most open pools of the Euro, the neophytes will face the Netherlands, Ukraine as well as Austria, who beat them twice in group G of qualifying for the Euro.

Drunk with joy after their feat, the Reds and Yellows embraced vigorously at the final whistle. The rest of the party is set for Sunday, June 13, the date of their first Euro match against Austria.

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  • Scotland at the end of the suspense

Twenty-two years after the World Cup in France, the Scottish selection of Scott McTominay finds a big international competition, by eliminating Serbia, in Belgrade, Thursday, November 12.

Their last big tournament dates back to the 1998 World Cup: twenty-two years later, the Scots found their way back to the Euro in Belgrade, beating Serbia on penalties.

Against catchy hosts, the visitors had to work hard to finally triumph 5-4 on penalties, a lottery they had already won in the semi-finals against Israel (0-0, 5-3 in the tabs) .

The victory would have taken shape more quickly thanks to the goal of Ryan Christie in the 52e minute, but Luka Jovic delayed the deadline by equalizing in the 90e.

Scotland thus erases its bad memories of the Euro dams, against England for the 2000 edition, and four years later against the Netherlands. In June, she will also find the Three Lions, but also Croatia and the Czech Republic in Group D.

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  • Slovakia offers itself the other Ireland

Joy of the Slovaks, despair of the Irish, Thursday 12 November, in Belfast.

Second green light for Slovakia: a month after defeating Ireland in the semi-finals of the play-offs, Marek Hamsik’s teammates have put the cover back in Belfast against Northern Ireland and snatched the right to participate in their second Euro right now.

An early goal (17e) from midfielder Juraj Kucka was long enough to keep the Slovaks happy, but it was without counting on a goal against his side of Skriniar in the 87e minute. In extra time, Michal Duris, entered the field in the 65e minute to animate the Slovak attack, was responsible for putting his country back in charge of the match (110e), this time for good.

For their second Euro in a row, Stefan Tarkovic’s men will find Spain, Poland and Sweden in Group E. In 2016, Germany stopped them dead in the round of 16 (3-0) .

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The World with AFP


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