Euro 2024 play-offs reach boiling point with final three eliminators set for Summer slots

March 22 – In the battle for the last three slots at this summer’s European Championship, Iceland have eliminated Israel from the Euro 2024 playoffs to set up a showdown with Ukraine. Wales take on Poland in the Path A playoff final after brushing past Estonia 5-1. 

Greece and Georgia will dispute the last ticket to Euro 2024. The Georgians saw off Luxembourg 2-0 while the Euro 2004 winners crushed Kazakhstan 5-0 in Athens.

Iceland had to come from behind to defeat Israel 4-1 and end their opponent’s dream of qualifying for the continental finals for the first time.

Israel have not played at a major tournament since the 1970 World Cup. The tie had been switched to Hungary because of the war in Gaza. Before the match, Iceland manager Age Hareide had expressed his reservations about playing Israel.

Veteran forward Eran Zahavi handed Israel the lead at the half-hour mark from the penalty spot, but Iceland came good following a hattrick from Albert Gudmundsson and a goal from Arnor Ingvi Traustason. In the 73rd minute, Israel were reduced to ten men following Roy Revivo’s sending off and Zahavi missed the opportunity to equalise when he dragged a penalty wide.

Iceland, who reached the quarterfinals of Euro 2016, will face Ukraine in Wroclaw for a ticket to Germany. Ukraine edged past Bosnia and Herzegovina in dramatic style with two goals inside four minutes in the final minutes of the match. Goals from Roman Yaremchuk and Artem Dovbyk kept Ukraine’s hopes of participating in a second consecutive European championship alive.

Wales had little trouble seeing off Finland, Euro 2020 debutants, on home soil. David Brooks scored in the third minute to give the hosts the perfect start and they never looked back with goals from Neco Williams, Brennan Johnson and Daniel James completing a 4-1 victory. Teemu Pukki got a consolation goal for the visitors.

The Welsh are one match away from claiming their spot among the final 24, but they will need to be at their best to defeat Poland, who breezed past Estonia 5-1 in Warsaw with goals from Przemyslaw Frankowski, Piotr Zielinski, Jakub Piotrowski, Nicola Zalewski and Sebastian Szymanski. The Polish are bidding to reach their fourth consecutive European finals.

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