Euro 2024 wrap: Ireland’s hopes officially ended as Slovakia qualify

Hungary also qualify for the tournament: Sweden humbled by Azerbaijan

Ireland’s remote hopes of qualifying for Euro 2024 have ended after Slovakia beat Iceland 4-2 to secure their spot in the tournament.

Lukas Haraslin scored twice as Juraj Kucka and Ondrej Duda were also on target prompting scenes of great celebration in the country.

Ireland now cannot qualify for a play-off through the Nations League, while they are too far behind in qualifying in Group B.

Scotland manager Steve Clarke praised his side for keeping their cool and using Georgia’s time-wasting “shenanigans” to their advantage after Lawrence Shankland headed a stoppage-time equaliser in Tbilisi.


Georgia twice took the lead through the impressive Napoli attacker Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, but late call-up Shankland earned Scotland a 2-2 draw when he headed home fellow substitute Stuart Armstrong’s cross two minutes into added time.

Hungary qualified for the Euro 2024 finals with a game to spare after a last-minute Alex Petkov own goal earned them a 2-2 draw against Bulgaria in Sofia.

In a game played behind closed doors due to a late venue change, Hungary took the lead through Martin Adam’s close-range header following a free kick from the captain, Dominik Szoboszlai, after 10 minutes.

Bulgaria, bottom of Group G and without a victory in qualifying, levelled against the run of play when Spas Delev fired his shot into the top right corner in the 24th minute. Valentin Antov and Ilia Gruev were both sent off for the hosts before half time, but the VAR intervened to overturn Gruev’s red card as the half ended level.

It was a Hungary player who then saw red early in the second half as Milos Kerkez was sent off to cancel out the visitors’ numerical advantage. Marco Rossi’s side then suffered a major setback in the 78th minute as Kiril Despodov scored from the penalty spot to put Bulgaria 2-1 ahead after Attila Szalai’s foul.

As Hungary’s first defeat in a year loomed – along with the prospect of a crunch final qualifier at home to Montenegro – Petkov headed into his own net from Szoboszlai’s corner seven minutes into stoppage time to book Hungary’s third consecutive appearance at a men’s European Championship finals. Elsewhere in the group, Montenegro beat Lithuania 2-0.

In Group F, Sweden slumped to a first-ever defeat against Azerbaijan, losing 3-0 despite a red card for the hosts in Baku. In Janne Anderson’s final week in charge, the already-eliminated visitors quickly found themselves two goals down against a team they had beaten 5-0 in the reverse fixture in March.

Renat Dadashov punished a lapse from Victor Lindelöf, finding Emin Mahmudov to volley home in just the third minute. Three minutes later, Dadashov got on the scoresheet from Aleksey Isayev’s pass. Victor Gyökeres saw a shot cleared off the line, but that was as close as Sweden came in the first half.

Soon after the restart, Behlul Mustafazade was sent off for bringing down Gyökeres with the striker through on goal. A Swedish penalty was revised to a free-kick by VAR, and Emil Forsberg’s effort was turned on to the crossbar. Sweden’s humiliation was completed when Mahmudov lobbed Robin Olsen from long range in the 89th minute.

Sweden were already out of contention in Group F, with Belgium and Austria having already qualified and no playoff route available to them. Azerbaijan still have an outside chance of making the playoffs. Elsewhere, Austria ended their campaign with a 2-0 victory in Estonia that sees them leapfrog Belgium at the top of the group.

Spain closed in on securing top spot in Group A as they strolled to a 3-1 away win against Cyprus. Luis de la Fuente, the Spain manager, rested several first-team regulars but had few problems against the group’s bottom side.

Barcelona’s 16-year-old star Lamine Yamal opened the scoring from close range after dribbling past a defender and the goalkeeper in the fifth minute, his second goal for Spain. Mikel Oyarzabal struck with a tidy finish under the keeper’s legs in the 22nd minute, the goal given by VAR after initially being flagged for offside.

The Real Madrid forward Joselu scored the third six minutes later with a first-touch finish from a corner, with Kostas Pileas getting a second-half consolation for the hosts. La Roja lead the group with 18 points, two ahead second-placed Scotland, who drew 2-2 with Georgia. Both teams have already qualified for next summer’s finals. “I saw the goalkeeper in front of me and I cut back until I was alone. Happy to help the team and for the beautiful goal,” Yamal said afterwards.

“It’s difficult to win comfortably, scoring a lot of goals,” said De La Fuente. “In the second half we didn’t play as well as we did in the first, and they had their chances later on. That’s a lesson we should learn.”

In Group J, Portugal beat Liechtenstein 2-0 with Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Cancelo the scorers, while Luxembourg had an impressive 4-1 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina to move up to third in that group.