Denmark accomplished their qualification with one game to spare after beating Slovenia 2-1, while a 1-1 stalemate with Moldova was enough for Albania to book a place in the UEFA Euro 2024 on Friday.
Denmark started highly motivated on home soil and came close with 11 minutes played as Slovenia’s goalkeeper Jan Oblak had to defuse Jonas Wind’s dangerous header from central position inside the box.
The hosts slowly but surely increased the pressure and thought they had opened the scoring with 22 minutes gone, but Joakim Maehle’s close-range goal was ruled offside, reports Xinhua.
Slovenia couldn’t keep Denmark at bay and fell behind in the 26th minute when Victor Kristiansen’s inswing cross to the back post found Maehle, who poked home the opener.
Denmark’s lead lasted only four minutes as the visitors restored parity with their very first attempt on target after Erik Janza curled a free kick over the wall top into the right corner, leaving goalie Kasper Schmeichel helpless.
The hosts came out with their guns blazing after the restart and kept Slovenia’s defense busy as Yussuf Poulsen pulled wide four minutes into the second half before Oblak defused another effort from the striker moments later.
Denmark eventually got rewarded and took the lead again in the 54th minute when Thomas Delaney volleyed home a flicked corner. The Danes have been already through after cementing their top spot in Group H, while Slovenia still have some work to do as they require one point against Kazakhstan next Monday. In other matches of the group, Finland thrashed Northern Ireland 4-0 while Kazakhstan kept their chances alive thanks to a 3-1 win over San Marino.
Group E leaders Albania shared the spoils with Moldova at 1-1 and booked their ticket as well. The Czech Republic earned a 1-1 draw with Poland, who need to wait for a possible play-off.
England stay atop in Group C after easing 2-0 past Malta, and Italy move within a point of the finals after crushing North Macedonia 5-2.
Italy overpower North Macedonia
Italy broke the curse with a 5-2 victory over North Macedonia in the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifiers here on Friday, with Federico Chiesa scoring a brace.
North Macedonia had left the Azzurri unfavorable memories, eliminating Italy in a Qatar World Cup qualifying play-off last year and holding Luciano Spalletti’s side to 1-1 draw in their first meeting of the Euro 2024 qualifiers, reports Xinhua.
Chiesa returned to action on Friday, with Jorginho also getting the nod in the middle of the park while Napoli star Eljif Elmas started for the away side.
The home side broke the deadlock minutes later through a corner as Raspadori’s pass found Matteo Darmian to turn in a header. Chiesa made it 2-0 as Nicolo Barella’s smart back-heeled pass allowed the Juventus player to unleash a daisy-cutter out of the box, before he completed a brace with a deflected strike in stoppage time.
The win sent Italy to the second place in Group C, levelling on 13 points with Ukraine. Italy only need one point to secure their place in the finals.
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