Scotland on Thursday won their first-ever penalty shoot-out to beat Israel in the Euro 2020 playoff semi-finals, but there was spot-kick heartbreak for the Republic of Ireland, as they lost out to Slovakia.
Northern Ireland host Slovakia next month for a place at the postponed tournament next year after they also prevailed on penalties after a 1-1 draw against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Scotland are now one game away from their first major tournament in 22 years when they travel to Serbia on Nov. 12, but were pushed all the way after neither side could find the net in 120 minutes at Hampden Park.
“It its another step forward to hopefully making a bit of history for the country,” Scotland coach Steve Clarke said. “Qualification is still in our hands. We know we’ve got a tough game, but it is one that we’ll look forward to. I can feel there is something building. It’s another game unbeaten and you can feel the elation in the dressing room.”
Clarke’s preparations were thrown into chaos on Wednesday when three key players were ruled out.
Stuart Armstrong tested positive for COVID-19, while Kieran Tierney and Ryan Christie were forced into self-isolation for being in close contact with the Southampton midfielder.
The creativity offered by Armstrong and Christie was badly missed as Scotland labored to breakdown an Israel team who had won just one of their past 10 internationals, including a 1-1 draw when they visited Hampden in the UEFA Nations League last month.
Manchester United’s Scott McTominay spurned the best chance of the game when he headed wide when completely unmarked from a corner just before halftime and Liam Cooper’s header hit the post in the last action of extra-time.
However, McTominay redeemed himself in the shoot-out, as all five of Scotland’s penalty-takers found the net, while David Marshall saved from Eran Zahavi.
“Saving the first penalty breaks them a bit and gave us confidence,” Marshall said. “The last four penalties from us were a real high standard — the lads have practiced every day. It’s more relief than anything.”
Serbia stand between Scotland and a place at Euro 2020 after Sergej Milinkovic-Savic upstaged Norway’s Erling Braut Haaland by scoring twice in a 2-1 victory for the visitors in Oslo.
The SS Lazio midfielder’s first effort was canceled out by Mathias Normann two minutes from time, but Milinkovic-Savic’s deft chip from a narrow angle in extra-time proved a worthy winner.
The Republic of Ireland failed to capitalize on Slovakia’s own problems with COVID-19 absentees as Stephen Kenny’s men were left to rue a host of huge chances after a 0-0 draw in Bratislava.
Allan Browne and Tottenham Hotpsur’s Matt Doherty then failed to score from the penalty spot and Slovakia made no mistakes to win 4-2 in the shoot-out.
“It’s a hard one to take at the minute and it is heartbreaking,” Republic of Ireland captain Shane Duffy said.
Northern Ireland upset the odds by coming from behind to beat Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Rade Krunic opened the scoring early on for the hosts, but Niall McGinn’s equalizer gave Ian Baraclough’s men something to hold on to.
They then kept their heads to win the shoot-out 4-3 as Haris Hajradinovic and Edin Visca missed for the hosts.
“We didn’t start anywhere near the way we wanted to, but then we got to grips with it and everything fell into place,” said Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis, who became his nation’s most-capped player on his 120th appearance.
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s double ensured Iceland beat Romania 2-1 to set up a final against Hungary, who were 3-1 winners in Bulgaria.
Kosovo’s dreams of reaching a first major tournament came to end as they were beaten 2-1 by North Macedonia, who face Georgia after they defeated Belarus 1-0.
Politicians are meant to kiss babies, not crash into children, but on the campaign trail yesterday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison barrelled into a young boy during a friendly kickaround, eliciting a chorus of stunned “ooohs” and “aaaws” from spectators. Morrison was playing five-a-side soccer in northern Tasmania, where he is trawling for votes ahead of Saturday’s election. At first, Morrison — shorn of his jacket, but still sporting a shirt and tie — sauntered around the field somewhat aimlessly, trying to get a toe on the ball here and there as it ping-ponged from boy to boy. However, then the 54-year-old stepped
Taiwanese Hsu Le on Tuesday won the women’s 100m hurdles at the Summer Deaflympics in Caxias do Sul, Brazil, snagging Taiwan’s first gold medal at this year’s Games. The 19-year-old hurdler finished in 13.91 seconds, breaking the Deaflympics record of 14.20 seconds. Hsu already holds the world deaf record for the women’s 100m hurdles, which she secured at the biennial National Athletics Championships in New Taipei City in 2020 with a time of 13.19 seconds. The Deaflympics is her first international competition. On Sunday, she won a bronze medal in the women’s 100m, finishing in 12.31 seconds. She is also to compete in
Being shot in both eyes and completely blinded did not stop Zion Ricks-Gaines from skateboarding. It made him want to do it even more. “I still want to go pro, I still want to accomplish being a professional skateboarder,” the 19-year-old said as he readied a kickflip at a skate park in San Francisco. He wants to share that enthusiasm with everyone he meets. “I want to start more skate after-school programs for students. I feel like I wouldn’t have really looked in that direction if I had my sight,” he said. Ricks-Gaines’ life was derailed outside a bar late last year when a
Taiwan’s Chuang Chih-yuan on Sunday clinched the men’s singles title at the World Table Tennis (WTT) Feeder Westchester tournament in New York state after defeating Benedikt Duda of Germany in the final. Chuang, 41, known as Taiwan’s “godfather of table tennis,” edged out 25-year-old Duda 3-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7 in 55 minutes, 54 seconds at the Westchester Table Tennis Center. The win was Chuang’s first men’s singles title since he won the International Table Tennis Federation World Tour Hungarian Open in Budapest in 2016. It was his second title in Westchester following a victory in the mixed doubles final with