Romania, Slovakia and Turkey reach last 16, Georgia stun Portugal

June 27, 2024 - 08:11

Euro Roundup: Romania, Slovakia and Turkey reach last 16, Georgia stun Portugal

By Xuân Đăng

Four matches in one night with the results determining which teams will play in last 16 of Euro 2024.

Belgium progressed to the last 16 of Euro 2024 as a 0-0 draw saw Ukraine eliminated. AFP/VNA Photo

Belgium - Ukraine:  Belgium qualified after goalless draw

Belgium go through to the knock-out round at Euro 2024 after finishing as Group E runners-up following a 0-0 draw with Ukraine, whose own hopes of progress were extinguished.

Belgium captain Kevin De Bruyne created the first clear chance of the game, embarking on a mazy run before threading a fine through ball to Romelu Lukaku, who was unable to properly connect with his shot from close range, allowing Ukraine goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin to gather easily. 

Belgium continued to dominate possession in the second half, yet Ukraine held firm, Lukaku again trying his luck with a curling effort which Trubin saved.

Ukraine needed a goal, and they made a triple substitution on 70 minutes as they threw everything at unlocking victory, but it was Belgium who still showed the most threat, Yannick Carrasco blasting a shot which was palmed away.

Artem Dovbyk's eyes lit up with ten minutes to go as he received the ball in space on the edge of the box, but the Ukraine forward could only fire into the side netting as time began to tick away.

In the final moments, Georgiy Sudakov embarked on a brilliant solo run. The goal seemed there for the taking, yet his shot from just inside the box lacked power, and once again there was no way through for Ukraine. 

Romania celebrate qualifying for the Euro 2024 last 16. AFP/VNA Photo

Romania - Slovakia: Both qualified after tense draw

Romania and Slovakia both qualified for the last 16 after a tense 1-1 draw in their last Group E game.

Slovakia were unchanged for the first two matches but they made one yesterday with forward David Strelec replacing Robert Bozenik.

Romania made two changes from the side that lost 2-0 to Belgium, Ianis Hagi, son of Romania great Gheorghe, brought in to replace Dennis Man in a second attacking switch from coach Edward Iordanescu

Slovakia were inches away from snatching the lead as Lukas Haraslin's free-kick went through a crowd of players and almost crept in at the far post.

It was a warning Romania failed to heed and Slovakia went in front in the 24th minute.

Juraj Kucka whipped in a deep cross that caught the Romania defence standing statuesque, leaving the unmarked Ondrej Duda free to power his header past Florin Nita from eight yards.

Romania's response was emphatic as they drew level in the 37th minute thanks to an incisive raid from the son of former Barcelona and Real Madrid star Gheorghe Hagi.

David Hancko's foul on Hagi was adjudged to be a penalty by VAR after referee Daniel Siebert initially ruled the offence had taken place just outside the area.

Marin stepped up to drill the spot-kick high into the roof of the net to the deafening delight of the hordes of Romania fans who turned the arena into a frenzied mosh-pit.

With all four teams in the group earning four points from their three games, Romania finished top having scored more goals than second-placed Belgium.

Slovakia went through in third place thanks to a superior goal difference to fourth-placed Ukraine.

It was a memorable moment for Romania, who are into the knockout stages of the Euros for the first time in 24 years.

Romania had only qualified once for the last 16 in their five Euro appearances, but Edward Iordanescu's tenacious side have ended that long drought.

A goal in time added on secured Turkey a 2-1 win over 10-man Czech Republic and a place in the last 16 of Euro 2024. AFP/VNA Photo

Turkey - Czech Republic: Turkey qualified with an injury-time winner

The Czech Republic made two changes to their starting XI after the 1-1 draw with Georgia, while Turkey boss Vincenzo Montella had enough in the wake of the 3-0 defeat to Portugal.  Only four players who started that match retained their places.

Turkey knew a draw would be enough against the Czechs in Hamburg to go through, but struggled to put the game to bed despite having a man advantage for more than 70 minutes after Antonin Barak was sent off.

Hakan Calhanoglu gave them the lead before Tomas Soucek gave the Czech Republic hope of snatching the win they needed to knock Turkey out.

But Cenk Tosun finally finished off the match with an injury-time winner on the counter-attack.

Turkey will next face Austria in Leipzig on Tuesday for a place in the quarter-finals.

The Crescent Stars have made the semis on the last two occasions they reached the knockouts in major tournaments, after finishing third at the 2002 World Cup.

"Now we have new goals," accepted Montella.

"Tonight we just want to celebrate, we deserve it, great sacrifice. But starting tomorrow, we want to continue to make history."

Georges Mikautadze (L) and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia scored the goals which took Georgia to the last 16 of Euro 2024. VNA/VNS Photo

Georgia - Portugal: Georgia made history

In the most shocking result of the night, Georgia secured a historic place in the knockout stages of Euro 2024 after a stunning 2-0 win over Portugal

Appearing at their first European Championship, Georgia had to record their first ever victory at the tournament to reach the last 16 when they played Portugal in Gelsenkirchen.

Georgia took the lead after only 93 seconds after Antonio Silva’s dreadful pass went straight to Georges Mikautadaze on the halfway line.

He ran straight at the backpedalling Goncalo Inacio and angled a through pass to the left for Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who wept a left-foot shot across Diogo Costa.

From there, Sagnol's team were content to sit back and protect their slender lead as Portugal sent forward wave after wave of attack against a packed defence.

Ronaldo's frustrations continued almost immediately after half-time when he looked certain to score from a corner only for Lasha Dvali to unwittingly save the day with his back.

After the break, Georges Mikautadze put Georgia 2-0 up at the penalty spot up he’s now the leading goal scorer at the tournament.

Georgia's players celebrated with their delirious fans long after the final whistle, after inflicting a first defeat since the 2022 World Cup on Portugal, and being rewarded for the sheer fun they have brought to the tournament. 

Georgia, ranked 74th in the world, will now play much-fancied Spain in the next round on Sunday in Cologne, having progressed as one of the four best third-placed sides. VNS 

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