Spain's Victory Sends Them and Scotland to Euro 2024

Spain’s Victory Sends Them and Scotland to Euro 2024

Spain secured their spot at Euro 2024 with a 1-0 victory over Norway on Sunday, also securing Scotland’s qualification from Group A.

In the early stages of the second half, young midfielder Gavi netted a crucial goal, propelling the two-time European championship winners from 2008 and 2012 into the upcoming tournament in Germany next summer, with two matches to spare.

Norway, who last participated in a major tournament at Euro 2000, and their star striker Erling Haaland now have a potential path to qualification through play-offs. However, they must maintain their third-place position and rely on Serbia’s qualification from Group G to become eligible.

Spain effectively kept Haaland at bay throughout the evening, leaving Norway frustrated. The Norwegian team currently lags five points behind both Spain and Scotland, who are jointly leading the group with just one game remaining.

Luis de la Fuente made some adjustments to the lineup, with Fran Garcia taking the place of the injured Alejandro Balde at left-back. Ansu Fati and Fabian Ruiz were also included in the starting eleven.

Spain dominated the opening phase, with Dani Carvajal sending a powerful shot wide of the near post. La Roja believed they had taken the lead after 20 minutes when Stefan Strandberg inadvertently deflected the ball towards his own goal, and Alvaro Morata promptly converted. However, the goal was disallowed for offside against Morata – Carvajal’s pass was intended for Fati before Strandberg’s interference, and it would have been an own goal had he not intervened.

In the 49th minute, Gavi eventually broke the deadlock, seizing the opportunity in the chaos of Norway’s penalty area after Mikel Oyarzabal’s shot was deflected into his path. This marked the 19-year-old Barcelona midfielder’s fifth goal in 25 appearances for his country.

On the other end, Arsenal playmaker Martin Odegaard narrowly missed the target with an effort, and Spain’s goalkeeper Unai Simon comfortably saved a shot from the talented teenager Antonio Nusa.

Morata had a late attempt cleared off the goal line, but he was offside, and Spain’s search for a second goal to secure their progress was in vain.

Nonetheless, the absence of a second goal did not matter, as a lackluster Norway failed to pose a threat during the eight minutes of added time, seemingly accepting their fate. Meanwhile, Spain celebrated their qualification as the final whistle blew.

De la Fuente’s team faced early doubts when they suffered an initial defeat to Scotland in their qualifying campaign, but a Nations League victory in June and straightforward qualification for the Euros have since validated his coaching appointment.