Hungary and Slovakia reach Euro 2024 while starlet Yamal scores for Spain
16 November 2023
Paris (AFP) -
Hungary and Slovakia booked their tickets for Euro 2024 on Thursday while 16-year-old sensation Lamine Yamal scored again for already-qualified Spain.
The Hungarians guaranteed their place at the finals in Germany when an own goal from Bulgaria's Alex Petkov deep in stoppage time gave them a 2-2 draw in Sofia.
The visitors only needed a point to qualify but were 2-1 down before Petkov allowed a cross to skid off the top of his head and into his own net in the 97th minute in the most dramatic of finishes.
The Hungarian players exploded in joy at the end of a match played in an empty stadium because of fears of protests against the head of the Bulgarian football federation.
Instead, Bulgarian fans mounted protests outside the ground.
Ten supporters and five police officers were injured in clashes and police also used water cannon to disperse crowds of fans angry at the lack of their national team's progress.
The draw gave Hungary 15 points from seven games in Group G of European qualifying, two ahead of Serbia.
- Haraslin double -
In Bratislava, Slovakia cruised past Iceland 4-2, with two goals from Lukas Haraslin helping them qualify for the finals for the third time in a row.
Hungary and Slovakia join host nation Germany, Austria, Belgium, England, France, Portugal, Scotland, Spain and Turkey as the teams qualified so far.
In other games, Spain, who have also already secured their qualification, comfortably beat Cyprus 3-1 with starlet Yamal opening the scoring in the fifth minute.
Yamal had become Spain's youngest player and scorer in a 7-1 qualifying win against Georgia in September and on Thursday he rounded the goalkeeper and scored with a powerful finish.
Already-qualified Scotland came from behind to draw 2-2 with Georgia in Tbilisi thanks to Lawrence Shankland's 93rd minute equaliser.
Serbia have to wait to qualify from Group G as Montenegro beat Lithuania 2-0 to keep their hopes alive.
Portugal opened up an eight-point lead over Slovakia in Group J by beating Liechtenstein 2-0 in Vaduz with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo -- his 128th international strike to extend his world record -- and Joao Cancelo.
Ronaldo's chance was created by Diogo Jota's beautifully weighted pass through the defence, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner firing the ball into the roof of the net.
Luxembourg thrashed Bosnia and Herzegovina 4-1 and will enter the playoffs in a bid for qualification after a campaign that has defied expectations.
Azerbaijan eased past a woeful Sweden 3-0 in Baku in Group F, from which Austria and Belgium have already qualified. Austria beat bottom team Estonia 2-0.