Scotland qualify for Euro 2020 to reach first major tournament since 1998

Scotland beat Serbia 5-4 on penalties to qualify for Euro 2020 and reach their first major tournament since 1998.

The Tartan Army hadn’t featured in an international event since qualifying for the World Cup in France but will now return to the elite level of global football.

Ryan Christie looked to have scored the all important goal to fire Steve Clarke’s side through. He received the ball on the edge of the area from Callum McGregor and fired low past the Serbian goalkeeper Predrag Rajković.

But a Luka Jovic header at the death forced the match into extra time, where the teams could not be split.

A tense penalty shootout followed but it was a jublilant Scotland who came away with the win to reach the finals, with David Marshall saving from Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrović to send them through.

Scotland’s last appearance at a European Championship came in England in 1996 and they will face the Three Lions in the group stages at next summer’s delayed tournament.

Croatia and the Czech Republic will be their other Group D opponents next summer.

Scotland had to win two play-offs to reach the finals and had scraped past Israel in the previous round, winning on penalties.

And after beating Serbia in the same manner, they will be one of 24 nations battling it out for supremacy in the cross-European event.

Northern Ireland were also taken to extra time by Slovakia before suffering a 2-1 defeat..

A goal from Juraj Kucka after 17 minutes looked to have ended Ian Baraclough’s sides hopes of reaching the finals but a late own goal from Milan Skriniar gave the Northern Irish a lifeline.

However, an extra time goal from Michal Durik allowed Slovakia to to advance and they will join Spain, Sweden and Poland in Group E.

Earlier on Thursday. North Macedonia qualified by beating Georgia 1-0.

Veteran striker Goran Pandev, 37, scored the game’s only goal and booked their spot in Group C where they will face Netherlands, Austria and Ukraine.

Hungary, meanwhile, beat Iceland in the most dramatic of circumstances to qualify.

Down 1-0 until the 88th minute courtesy of an early Gylfi Sigurdsson strike, two late goals from Loic Nego and Dominik Szoboszlai secured a remarkable turnaround to secure a win in normal time.

They have landed in the ‘Group of Death’ with Portugal, France and Germany.

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