Football News

Euro 2024 lineup complete plus other stories you might have missed from tonight’s international football

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 22:30, 26 March 2024

This evening, Georgia, Ukraine, and Poland secured the final three Euro 2024 spots.

In the night’s opening Euro 2024 qualifying play-off final, Georgia and Greece needed penalties after going goalless through regulation and extra time. Understandably, it was a nervy affair, but Willy Sagnol’s men eventually triumphed in the 12-yard shoot-out at Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena in Tbilisi, winning 4-2 on spot kicks.

It was a historic result, as the Crusaders — in their 15th attempt as an independent nation since the Soviet Union broke up — qualified for their first-ever major tournament. In doing so, they became the 36th different nation to reach the European Championship final stage.

The fallen Greeks have failed to make three consecutive Euros, and this July marks the 20th anniversary of their shock triumph under Otto Rehhagel’s leadership.

All eyes were then on Cardiff to see if Rob Page’s side could join England and Scotland in the Uefa-sanctioned festivities. After failing to appear in the first 14 editions, Wales made back-to-back finals appearances, with a World Cup return thrown in for good measure. Standing in their way, Robert Lewandowski and company, Poland themselves, have also made it a habit to play in recent summer tournaments.

After 120 minutes, the sides couldn’t be separated, and another goalless affair forced the dreaded roulette. Poland held their nerves to break Welsh hearts. With every kick successfully dispatched, Dan James needed to follow that pattern to force sudden death. Wojciech Szczęsny, though, had other ideas.

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Meanwhile, in Wrocław, an intriguing contest was simultaneously taking place, with Iceland seeking a second-ever Euro berth while Ukraine looked to make it four appearances in a row. On the half-hour mark, Albert Gudmundsson put Strákarnir okkar in front before Viktor Tsygankov equalised nine minutes into the second half. With additional time looming, much-maligned Chelsea forward Mykhailo Mudryk broke Icelandic hearts to send an emotional Ukraine side to Germany.

With the dust settling, the sides know their fate: Poland will drop into Group D, where they will meet the Netherlands, Austria, and France. Ukraine’s reward is a place in Group E, where Serhiy Rebrov’s side will join Belgium, Slovakia, and Romania. As for Georgia, it’s Group F, which includes Turkey, Portugal, and the Czech Republic.

However, beyond these do-or-die showdowns, a litany of international friendlies were being played, some more high-profile than others.

England avoided successive international home losses when Jude Bellingham levelled against Belgium deep into Wembley stoppage time. Youri Tielemans netted twice for the visitors, with an Ivan Toney penalty sandwiched in between.

Germany came from a goal down against bitter rivals the Netherlands to continue their newfound momentum heading into their home tournament. Joey Veerman put the Dutch in front, only for Maximilian Mittelstädt to sensationally equalise. Niclas Füllkrug added to his international tally with a late winner, Toni Kroos, with yet another assist since returning from the international wilderness.

Despite returning to successful ways, France perhaps needs a little more fine-tunning as their 3-2 win over Chile, which saw Les Bleus all-time top scorer Olivier Giroud get on the scoresheet, will not raise Didier Deschamps’ spirits. At least he can enjoy a win, something that has escaped Scotland and Steve Clarke in this March international break. A humbling 4-0 loss in Amsterdam was followed up by Northern Ireland registering a 1-0 victory at their expense in Glasgow.

Brazil was buoyant following their win over Gareth Southgate’s team. They subsequently played an entertaining six-goal thriller against Spain, which saw Real Madrid’s present and future, on their club’s hallowed turf, net for the five-time world champions.

Rodrygo pulled one back for the Selecao after Rodri and Dani Olmo gave the hosts a seemingly unassailable lead. Endrick, who made headlines by netting the winner over the Three Lions, scored in back-to-back international matches.

That didn’t end the drama, as Rodri stepped up once more from 12 yards three minutes from the end to seemingly give La Roja a morale-boosting win following their Colombia setback a few days ago, but Lucas Paqueta ensured the spoils were shared when he converted his penalty in the 97th minute.