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UEFA 2020 Euro qualifiers: Aaron Ramsey goals propel Wales into Euro 2020

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Wales secured a berth in the UEFA 2020 Euros with a 2-0 win over Hungary on Tuesday night at Cardiff City stadium. Aaron Ramsey, who moved to Juventus from Arsenal this season, scored both the goals for the Welsh. He opened the scoring for the hosts, heading in a perfectly curled Gareth Bale cross in the 15th minute of play to rapturous applause of charged-up supporters. Ramsey doubled the lead when he deftly controlled the ball in the Hungarian penalty area before unleashing a shot into the top corner of the net in the 47th. Bale nearly scored a third with a fierce free-kick which fizzed narrowly over while Ramsey was denied a hat-trick by Hungary goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi. Wales keeper Wayne Hennessey, too, made two wonderful saves in the game denying the opposition a couple of certain goals. The Hungarians, despite having more of the ball were toothless as far as penetration in their attacks went. Slipping to the 4th place in the Group E standings after the Cardiff defeat, the Magyars are out of the reckoning for the 2020 Euros. Wales moved to 2nd spot and qualification garnering 14 points from their 8 campaign fixtures. Croatia, who topped the Group with 17 points had already qualified on Friday. For the Welsh, the 2020 Euros would be their second entry and only the third major tournament in their history. Next summer’s European Championship will be Wales’ second in succession, a remarkable transformation for a country which had to endure 58 barren years between its first appearance at a major tournament, the 1958 World Cup and its second after Euro 2016.

Slovakia rode on the goals of Robert Bozenik and Marek Hamsik to beat Azerbaijan 2-0 and move to the 3rd place of Group E with 13 points. This means the Slovakians will feature in the play-offs to be held next March. 

Belgium finished their qualifying campaign in style beating Cypris 6-1 King Baudouin Stadium on Tuesday night. One of the favorites to win the Euro title, the hosts were momentarily stunned by a superb individual goal by Nicholas Ioannou in as early as the 14th minute. But it was a one-way traffic for the Belgians after that with Christian Benteke and Kevin de Bruyne scoring twice each and joined on the score-sheet by Yannick Carrasco and an own goal by Cypriot defender Kypros Christoforou. The Belgians were utterly dominant in the Group I, winning all their 10 fixtures and scoring a staggering 40 goals (the most by any team in the qualifiers) in the process.

Scotland’s unsatisfactory Euro 2020 qualifying campaign was brought to a close after a labored 3-1 win over Kazakhstan at a sparse Hampden Park, Glasgow. Steve Clarke’s men came from behind against the world’s 121st ranked Kazakhis as a John McGinn brace and a Steven Naismith goal cancelled out Baktiyar Zainutdinov’s fine 34th strike. Having secured a distant third place in Group I with 15 points from their 10 outings, the Scots now go into the March 2020 play-offs to decide their fate for a Euro entry.

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