Scotland and Northern Ireland one win away from Euro 2020 but Republic of Ireland suffer penalty heartbreak
Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland were all taken to penalties in their Euro 2020 play-offs in a tense night on the continent.
But there were mixed results for the three teams as Scotland and Northern Ireland got the better of Israel and Bosnia and Herzegovina respectively in their shootout.
However, there was no such luck for the Republic of Ireland as their hopes of qualifying for next summer’s rescheduled tournament were ended by Slovakia.
It wasn’t totally clear whether Scotland’s play-off would go ahead with COVID at risk going across the squad.
Things went off without a hitch at Hampden Park but neither side showed enough to win the match as the game finished goalless after extra-time.
But the home side brought their A-game to the shootout, scoring all five penalties, while Eran Zahavi missed his effort to send the jubilant Scots to within one win of their first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup. They must win at Serbia on November 12 to confirm their place.
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Northern Ireland also did the business from the spot but their contest at Bosnia was far more exciting. The home side took an early lead through Rade Krunic but Niall McGinn equalised after the break.
And it was Bailey Peacock-Farrell who was the hero – the Burnley stopper expertly kept out Haris Hajradinovic’s effort while also doing enough to put off Edin Visca, who hit the bar as Ian Barraclough’s men won 4-3.
But Northern Ireland’s neighbours will not be playing in the finals as misses from Alan Browne and Matt Doherty saw them go down to a 4-2 defeat on penalties after their tie in Slovakia finished goalless.
A win for the Republic of Ireland would have made for a play-off showdown with Northern Ireland at Windsor Park on November 12, but it’s Slovakia who will try to spoil the Green and White Army’s party instead.