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Zelensky congratulates the Ukrainian team qualified for Euro 2024 in the middle of war | Radio-Canada Sports


Ukraine found another late winner in another comeback victory. Georgia and Poland kept their cool during the penalty shootout. Everyone is going to the European Championship.

The 24-nation line-up for Euro 2024 was finalized on Tuesday with three qualifying playoffs giving a stronger Eastern European flavor to the tournament which opens on June 14 in Germany.

Mykhailo Mudryk’s low shot in the 84th minute gave Ukraine a 2-1 victory over Iceland and a second late playoff victory for a team representing the war-torn country.

Ukraine’s “home” match was played in neutral Poland, as international matches cannot be played in Kiev for security reasons due to Russia’s military invasion, including UEFA banned the team from attempting to qualify.

Ukrainian fans displayed yellow and blue banners criticizing Russia and its President Vladimir Putin at the Wroclaw stadium.

“A big thank you to our supporters,” said Ukrainian midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko. “They have helped us incredibly through these difficult times.”

The victory marks Ukraine’s first appearance in a major football tournament since the Russian invasion two years ago.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised the team for their resilience on social media.

“Thank you to the team. For this important victory and for your participation in the EURO,” Zelenskyy said in a message on X.

“For proving once again that whenever Ukrainians face difficulties, they do not give up and continue to fight, Ukrainians certainly win.”

Georgia will make its first appearance at the tournament

Georgia and star striker Khvicha Kvaratskhelia will make their major tournament debut at Euro 2024 after beating Greece 4-2 on penalties. The 0-0 draw was tense and testing in a noisy atmosphere in Tbilisi.

Wild celebrations saw thousands of Georgia fans from a crowd of 50,000 at the national stadium stream onto the pitch and some climb the goal posts to sit on the crossbar.

Poland became the latest team to book their ticket to Germany, beating Wales 5-4 on penalties in Cardiff also after a 0-0 draw.

Poland captain Robert Lewandowski, who had scored the first penalty in the shootout, couldn’t bear to watch the action when his goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny saved Dan James’ final penalty.

“It’s important because I probably would have ended my international career tonight if we had lost the match,” Szczesny said.

Poland will enter a tough Group D with France, the Netherlands and Austria.

Ukraine is in Group F with Belgium, Romania and Slovakia.

Georgia enters Group F to face Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal, Turkey and the Czech Republic.

Euro 2024 will be played in 10 German cities from June 14 to July 14.

Ukraine’s moment

Two years ago, Ukraine narrowly failed in the playoffs to reach the 2022 World Cup, ultimately losing to Wales with a team emotionally exhausted by the effort four months after the invasion began. their country.

Ukraine were not to be denied this time and rallied twice in five days in the second half and found a late goal to win 2-1. Last week, coach Serhiy Rebrov’s team trailed 1-0 in Bosnia-Herzegovina until the 85th minute.

In a match marked by superb goals, Iceland led in the 30th thanks to Albert Gudmundsson’s curling shot.

Viktor Tsygankov equalized in the 54th from just outside the Icelandic penalty area, close to where Chelsea winger Mudryk would win the match 30 minutes later.

Ukraine opens against Romania in Munich on June 17, then faces Slovakia in Dusseldorf on June 21 and top-seeded Belgium on June 26 in Stuttgart.

Georgia wins first place at Euro

Georgian players have been European champions before, on the Soviet Union team which won the inaugural title in 1960.

Today, the independent republic has won the right to write its own football history in Germany.

Tuesday’s decisive penalty was scored by substitute Nika Kvekveskiri, placing his perfect shot low into the corner to seal Georgia’s 4-2 victory.

Georgian goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili saved the first Greek penalty, from captain Tasos Bakasetas, then Giorgos Giakoumakis fired his shot wide of the goal.

Georgia will start against Turkey on June 18 in Dortmund, then face the Czechs on June 22 in Hamburg and finish against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal on June 26 in Gelsenkirchen, at the Schalke stadium.

Georgia’s French coach Willy Sagnol knows the territory well after nine years at Bayern Munich.

Georgia followed North Macedonia, who made their Euro 2020 debut, in taking the path opened by UEFA for a low-ranked team to reach the big stage thanks to their results in the competition. the League of Nations.

Georgia and Greece played in the final of a knockout stage open only to teams who performed well in the third-tier groups of the Nations League in 2022, before failing to finish in the top two. a traditional qualifying group for the Euro last year.

Lewandowski’s 4th Euro

Poland has participated in every edition of the Euros since its star striker Lewandowski made his national team debut in 2008, including as co-hosts of Euro 2012 with Ukraine.

Now 35, he should be back to lead the German team in a group that should have an emotional dimension for him.

Poland opens against the Netherlands on June 16 in Hamburg, travels to Berlin against Austria on June 21 and finishes the group against France on June 25 in the stadium where Lewandowski played for four years for Borussia Dortmund.


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