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UEFA Euro 2021 Play-Off Finals: Recap

We finally have the list of all the teams that are going to be competing in the UEFA Euro 2020. The final four slots have been filled via play-offs by Hungary, Slovakia, Scotland, and North Macedonia. Here is how the play-offs went.

Hungary-Iceland: 2-1

Five minutes into the match, Iceland’s captain, Gylfi Sigurðsson obtained a yellow card. A rare and very unwelcome occurrence quickly turned to celebration, as Sigurðsson scored the first goal in the 11th minute. Hungary was unable to score for the better part of the remainder of the match. In fact, the first half ended with no other goals.

Both teams focused on their substitutions in the second half. It wasn’t until 2 minutes to the end that Hungary equalized. They snatched the victory right from under Iceland, but it was not over yet. Dominik Szoboszlai followed in Négo’s footsteps and scored the second goal in the 92nd minute. The whistle came 4 minutes later. Iceland put up quite a fight, but Hungary owned the ball.

Northern Ireland-Slovakia: 1-2

In an amazing display that lasted over two hours, NI scored no goals. Juraj Kucka, Slovakia’s captain, had the honor of getting things started in the 17th minute. The rest of the game was filled with attacks and counter-attacks that did not hit the mark. That is until Milan Škriniar did the Irish a great favor. The defender scored a goal against his own team in the 87th minute.

This was when Slovakia realized they needed to think of something fast, but it wasn’t easy. Moreover, the extra time got a second half. It was then that Michal Ďuriš secured a spot for his team in the Euro 2020.

Serbia-Scotland: 1-1 (4-5)

Scotland won. However, the surprise comes via the fact that it should not have been this close. The Scots had a better track record and had better training. It could be that they underestimated the Serbs. Or that the White Eagles gave it all they got – who knows. Scotland was more aggressive and more precise, while Serbia had better control of the ball.

The first goal came in the second half. McGregor assisted Christie. That should have been the end of that. The Serbs received another shot at the glory thanks to Luka Jović in the 90th minute. After 122 minutes of game time, the match went to penalties. Luckily for the Tartan Beasts, Aleksandar Mitrović choked and was the only one to miss a penalty shot.

Georgia-Northern Macedonia: 0-1

Finally, Northern Macedonia won their spot in path D. The fight was long and desperate. Goran Pandev scored the only goal of the match in the second half. The two teams were simply too close in skill and opportunities for any additional changes to take place. Not for the lack of trying, though. We congratulate the winners and look forward to seeing them on the pitch next year. They won their second chance and now it’s time to plan.

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