After Hungary and Slovakia, it is the turn of Albania and Denmark: at the top of Groups E and H, respectively, they are now mathematically qualified for the 2024 European Championship. Aslani and his teammates settled for a draw in Moldova (1-1), while Denmark beat Slovenia 2-1 thanks to former Atalanta player Maihl. . Poland tied with the Czech Republic (1-1), while England beat Malta, led by Marcolini, 2-0. Finland and Kazakhstan won, and will face Slovenia on Monday in a true playoff for second place.
In the same group that includes Italy, England (already qualified) beat Malta, which ended its adventure with eight defeats in the same number of matches it played. At Wembley, Marcolini’s national team scores an own goal on the opponent’s first good chance: Foden breaks the ball and crosses into the middle, finding Pepe’s deflection behind his own goalkeeper. The hosts managed to take the lead until half-time: in the second half they replaced Tomori Walker and gave Palmer, who moved from City to Chelsea in the summer, his debut. 2-0 is an exhibition: in the 75th minute, Walker, Foden, Saka and Kane exchange the ball with a series of quick touches, and the Bayern striker finishes the ball with a touch in front of goal. One minute later, Rice scored the hat-trick with a shot from the edge of the penalty area, but VAR canceled everything due to Kane being offside.
For the second time in history, Albania qualifies for the final stage of the European Championship. A draw with Moldova was enough for Aslani and his team-mates, who along with Baboglu responded to Cikalesi’s goal 1-0 (from the penalty spot) but did not spoil the party for Sylvinho’s men. The achievement, the second after 2016, is the triumph of a team largely composed of Serie A champions: Berisha, Hessai, Ismagli, Djemseti, Aslani, Bajrami and Ramadani were key players on a historic evening for their country. In the 9pm match, Poland (the only team in the group to have played 8 matches) drew against the Czech Republic and their hopes of reaching second place were dashed. In fact, only victory would have kept Lewandowski and company in contention: racing at home or abroad, with chances on both sides. In the 38th minute, Piotrowski fulfilled the Poles’ dream with a shot into an empty net after a good rebound, and in the 49th minute, Captain Soucek equalized after a corner kick. In the final, Poland lost balance in search of a turning point, but Stanek lowered the goalpost and avoided defeat. For the Czech Republic, in second place with 12 points, qualification will depend on their match on Monday against Moldova (now with 10 points).
Denmark qualified by defeating Slovenia, which is now preparing to play a real playoff match against Kazakhstan. For coach Heulmand’s national team, the performances of former Atalanta Malé and Kristiansen Bolognese are decisive. The visitors started better, and Wind wasted the chance to make it 1-0, but then Mile found a goal similar to the one scored in Italy: from a cross from the left, he attacked the far post and broke the deadlock with a slide. Slovenia gets back into the game with a magical free-kick from Jansa, but faces trouble when the flanks press. On another initiative from Christiansen, Poulsen came close to making it 2-1, which came shortly after with a tap-in from Delaney. The score remained unchanged until the final whistle, and now the table sees Denmark at the top (22 points), followed by Slovenia (19), Kazakhstan (18) and Finland (15). Chesnokov’s brace in the 3-1 win over San Marino (scored by Franciosi) gave the Kazakhs energy ahead of the trip to Ljubljana scheduled for Monday. Also won was Finland – already certain of playing in the qualifiers due to their Nations League status – who easily beat Northern Ireland: in a 4-0 win in Helsinki, the first goal going to Venice Pohjanpalu.
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