Individuals of North Macedonia are celebrating after their national soccer team qualified for a significant championship for the first time in the nation’s history.
The 24-team lineup to its pandemic-delayed Euro 2020 has been finished on Thursday night with four championships that served plenty of late play in almost empty stadiums. Hungary, Scotland, and Slovakia were other successful nations.
North Macedonia’s 1-0 triumph in Georgia was made through an early second-half target from seasoned captain Goran Pandev, sparking late-night parties in the capital Skopje and across the nation.
Playing in his 114th worldwide, Pandev netted his 36th — and undoubtedly most significant — aim for his nation to cement his standing as a hero. Aged 37, he’s 11 years older than the country he represents.
The former Yugoslav republic, which has become the topic of longstanding tussles over the nation’s title, became an independent member of FIFA and UEFA just in 1994.
The match was possibly the largest in the background of two young football nations, but now fans have been allowed to the 54,000-seat national stadium in Tbilisi.
Currently ranked No. 65 from FIFA, North Macedonia joins Finland since the sole significant tournament novices next year.
The Balkan country goes into Group C hosted by the Netherlands and Romania. From the group stages next June it’ll confront Austria and Ukraine in Bucharest before shooting on the top-seeded Netherlands at Amsterdam.
They’re one of the 12 host countries scattered across Europe and currently have two home games at the group stage.
Scotland gave up a 90th-minute equalizer before winning a tense penalty shootout to achieve its first key tournament as the 1998 World Cup in France.
The Scots scored all five penalties in the shootout after a 1-1 draw against Serbia, before goalkeeper David Marshall spared the home team’s closing spot-kick from Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Scotland’s reward is a Team D location along with a mouthwatering experience against England, in Addition to fittings with Croatia and the Czech Republic.
Having trailed against Iceland in the 11th moment until leveling from the 88th, Dominik Szoboszlai hurried on and rifled a low shot to secure the magnificent victory in stoppage time in Budapest.
Slovakia also dropped a lead late in the game but scored an extra-time winner from Northern Ireland in Belfast. The home side nearly clinched success after equalizing having a personal goal in the 88th minute, moving on to hit the pole in stoppage time. However, Slovakia it was gone 2-1 thanks to some 110th-minute target by Michal Ďuriš.
The qualifying format ensured a championship place to get a low-ranked state that won a set in the lowest tier of this Nations League played a couple of decades back.
The four Nations League tiers fed to four playoff brackets, providing second chances to groups that failed to progress through conventional qualifying groups this past year.
The playoffs were initially scheduled for March but were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic that forced UEFA to postpone Euro 2020.