Euro 2024 roundup: Wales, Greece and Poland fly into the final playoff stage

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Euro 2024 roundup: Wales, Greece and Poland fly into the final playoff stage

David Brooks (R) celebrates after scoring Wales' early opening goal against Finland
David Brooks (R) celebrates after scoring Wales' early opening goal against FinlandAFP
Wales, Greece, Poland and Iceland all notched big wins in their Euro 2024 playoffs on Thursday to move one step closer to the tournament in Germany this summer. Elsewhere, Ukraine edged Bosnia & Herzegovina to join Georgia in the final playoff round.

Wales 4 Finland 1

Wales claimed a 4-1 play-off semi-final victory over Finland in Cardiff, meaning they will take on Poland on Tuesday evening in a winner-takes-all game for a spot at this summer’s European Championship finals.

Spurred on by a rousing pre-match rendition of ‘Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’, Rob Page’s men came roaring out of the blocks and took the lead after just three minutes.

A lovely piece of link-up play between Harry Wilson and Brennan Johnson saw the latter set up the former with a deft flick, allowing Wilson to get a shot away.

That shot was pushed away by Lukas Hradecky but only as far as the onrushing David Brooks, who slammed home the rebound to lift the roof off the Cardiff City Stadium.

The place was still rocking after almost 10 minutes but the home support was nearly silenced by Daniel Hakans, who blazed over from six yards from Nikolai Alho’s knockdown.

The game settled down somewhat before Wilson stung the palms of Hradecky from range and a loose pass from Chris Mepham caused panic in the Welsh defence. However, a combination of Teemu Pukki and Joel Pohjanpalo couldn’t make the most of it.

Finland were made to pay for this just moments later when, on 38 minutes, Neco Williams doubled the Welsh lead as he smashed in a well-worked free-kick from the edge of the box into the top corner.

However, Wales could not hold on to that two-goal lead as Pukki struck right on the stroke of half time, getting on the end of Pohjanpalo’s flick-on after just beating the offside trap to coolly slotted past Danny Ward.

Undeterred, Wales’ start to the second half mirrored the first as they retook their two-goal advantage after less than two minutes.

Ethan Ampadu - who became the youngest Welsh player to 50 caps this evening - rose highest at the back post to nod a free-kick into the path of David Brooks.

The on-loan Southampton man scuffed his shot inadvertently towards Brennan Johnson, who was on hand to pounce from close range and make it 3-1.

Key match stats
Key match statsFlashscore

Harry Wilson and sub Kieffer Moore had great opportunities to put the game to bed just after the hour mark but the former curled his shot wide from the edge of the box while the latter was denied by Hradecky.

Just when Wales thought that they had their fourth, VAR intervened to chalk off Ben Davies’ effort, yet they weren’t to be denied as their incessant pressure paid off.

Substitute Dan James hassled Miro Tenho and forced the Finland centre-back into a dreadful mistake, showing great composure to round the goalkeeper and slot home before receiving the adoration of the Welsh support.

They will now be looking forward to welcoming Poland to Cardiff as they hope to make a third European Championship in a row.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Harry Wilson (Wales)

Other playoff results:

Greece 5 Kazakhstan 0

Poland 5 Estonia 1

Israel 1 Iceland 4

Bosnia & Herzegovina 1 Ukraine 2

Georgia 2 Luxembourg 0

Final playoff fixtures:

Georgia vs Greece

Ukraine vs Iceland

Wales vs Poland

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