PARIS: Portugal completed their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a 100 per cent record by beating Iceland 2-0 on Sunday after Serbia booked their place in next year’s finals in Germany and Romelu Lukaku scored four goals for Belgium.
While Bruno Fernandes and Ricardo Horta scored the goals for Roberto Martinez’s Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo was not on the scoresheet and won 10 of the 10 matches in Group J.
The winners of 2016 will be among the favorites for the championship in what could be 38-year-old Ronaldo’s last major tournament.
Slovakia defeated Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-1 in Zenica and took second place in the qualification rounds, eight points behind Portugal.
Luxembourg, which will qualify for the play-offs, is five points further behind after capping off an impressive group stage win in Leichtenstein with a 1-0 win.
Earlier on Sunday, Serbia qualified as an independent nation for the first time after four previous failures to qualify for the main event with a 2-2 draw with Bulgaria.
The Serbs finished second in Group G, behind Hungary, whose team beat Montenegro 3-1 in Budapest, destroying their hopes of advancing.
“The players showed the mentality of not giving up and believing in themselves,” Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic said.
“It’s a big day for Serbian football. Serbia is finally at the European Championship.
“I congratulate my children who fought and believed until the end. “We are happy, we are satisfied,” he said.
Center back Milos Veljkovic put Serbia ahead in the 17th minute, while substitute Georgi Rusev equalized for Bulgaria in the 59th minute.
Furious Ronaldo walks off the pitch after Al-Nassr defeat
Ten minutes later Kiril Despodov put the visitors ahead and Srdjan Babic equalized eight minutes from time to ensure Serbia became the 17th team to qualify for Euro 2024.
Montenegro needed Serbia to lose to secure their place in Germany, but they also needed to win against the Hungarians, who had fallen impressively in qualifying.
Slobodan Rubezic put Montenegro ahead in the 36th minute, while Hungary responded with two goals in the second half from Liverpool midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai and Zsolt Nagy completed the victory in extra time.
Lukaku has a fever
Lukaku scored four goals as Belgium defeated Azerbaijan 5-0.
Roma striker Lukaku took his record tally of international goals for Belgium to 83, with all of his goals coming in a remarkable first half in Brussels.
He opened the scoring in the 17th minute by converting Jeremy Doku’s cross, and seven minutes later, Eddy Israfilov was shown a second yellow card and the Azerbaijanis climbed the mountain.
Lukaku fired home soon after, heading in Wout Faes’ delivery to complete his hat-trick.
She completed a run of four goals in 20 minutes before being replaced by Lois Openda in the first half.
The Belgians took their foot off the gas in the second period, but Leandro Trossard scored the fifth point in the 90th minute with another assist from Doku.
Sweden ended a miserable period in which it did not qualify for the European Championship for the first time since 1996, by beating Estonia 2-0 in the other match of the group.
Gavi is injured
Barcelona star Gavi limped off after suffering a serious knee injury during Spain’s 3-1 win against Georgia, placing them at the top of Group A above Scotland.
The 19-year-old was tackled from behind in the first half and left the field in tears after bending his knee bearing his weight.
“This is a very difficult, very difficult moment,” Spain coach Luis de la Fuente said.
“For the Spanish federation, for me, for his friends. But above all for himself and his club.
“We disappeared. “Football is a risky sport and that is the ugly part of our sport.”
Goals from Robin Le Normand and Ferran Torres and an own goal from Luka Lochoshvili helped Spain get past a spirited Georgia, who drew 1-1 early through Napoli star Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.
Scotland, who had already qualified, needed to beat Norway and hope Spain would take first place, but they faced a dramatic 3-3 draw at Hampden Park.
news source (www.brecorder.com)