gtag('config', 'UA-12595121-1'); Romania and Slovakia Advance to Euro 2024 Knockout Stage After Tense Draw – The Zimbabwe Mail

Romania and Slovakia Advance to Euro 2024 Knockout Stage After Tense Draw

Romania's Andrei Burca fights for the ball with Slovakia's Juraj Kucka during their UEFA Euro 2024 Group E football match at the Frankfurt Arena in Frankfurt am Main on Wednesday. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP
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Frankfurt, Germany — Romania and Slovakia both secured their places in the last 16 of Euro 2024 following a thrilling 1-1 draw in their final Group E match on Wednesday.

Slovakia’s Ondrej Duda opened the scoring in the first half, but Romania’s Razvan Marin equalized with a penalty before halftime.

With all four teams in Group E finishing on four points from three games, Romania topped the group due to scoring more goals than second-placed Belgium. Slovakia advanced in third place, boasting a superior goal difference over fourth-placed Ukraine.

This achievement marks a historic moment for Romania, who have reached the knockout stages of the Euros for the first time in 24 years. Under the guidance of Edward Iordanescu, the team responded to the challenge to make “history” with a spirited performance, driven by their passionate supporters who turned the stadium into a vibrant sea of yellow.

Slovakia’s progression to the knockout stages continues their recent successes in major tournaments, having previously reached the last 16 in the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2016.

Despite speculation that both teams might play for a draw to ensure mutual advancement, Romania showed no signs of settling for a point. They started aggressively, with Andrei Ratiu’s powerful strike testing Slovakian goalkeeper Martin Dubravka early on. Ianis Hagi’s follow-up effort, however, missed the target.

Romania’s pressure continued as Marin narrowly missed with a long-range free-kick. Slovakia then took the lead in the 24th minute when Juraj Kucka’s deep cross found Duda, who headed past Florin Nita.

Romania’s equalizer came in the 37th minute after a VAR review confirmed a penalty for David Hancko’s foul on Hagi. Marin converted the spot-kick, sending the Romanian fans into a frenzy.

A dramatic second half unfolded under heavy storm conditions, adding to the tension. Romania nearly grabbed the lead when Marin forced a save from Dubravka and Denis Dragus’s shot grazed the net’s roof. Slovakia’s Lukas Haraslin also came close with a curling effort.

Ultimately, the match ended in a draw, but both teams celebrated their advancement to the knockout stage, capping off a memorable night in Frankfurt.

Source: AFP