MOSCOW: Scotland will need to win a play-off to qualify for Euro 2020 after a 4-0 defeat in Russia ended their chances of making it through their group, while Wales kept their chances alive with a 1-1 draw in Slovakia.
Scotland’s miserable European Championship qualifying campaign continued as a second-half capitulation resulted in a 4-0 defeat in Russia.
David Marshall had rarely been troubled before three goals in 13 minutes around the hour mark made it five defeats in seven qualifiers for the visitors.
Artem Dzyuba netted following two corners – the second game running Scotland have conceded twice in the same circumstances – and Magomed Ozdoev thumped home from long range.
Aleksandr Golovin slotted home from 10 yards in the 84th minute to make it a second consecutive four-goal loss for Steve Clarke’s side.
Clarke handed debuts to Michael Devlin, John Fleck and Lawrence Shankland, the latter from the bench, but he is still left seeking a way to turn around Scotland’s form after losing 13 goals in four successive defeats.
The latest loss officially ended Scotland’s remote hopes of a top-two finish and left them in fifth place in Group I, four points behind third-placed Cyprus.
Wales stayed in the hunt for Euro 2020 qualification with a battling 1-1 draw against Slovakia in Trnava.
Kieffer Moore’s first goal for his country gave Wales hope of ending a 12-month wait for an away win.
But Juraj Kucka equalised eight minutes after half-time with a splendid volley from the edge of the area.
Slovakia were reduced to 10 men two minutes from time when Norbert Gyomber received his second yellow card, but Wales could not find the winner in what was a pulsating contest.
It was a must-not lose game for Wales with Ryan Giggs’ side three points adrift of Slovakia, albeit with a game in hand, and matches in Group E fast running out.
A draw was not a disaster for Wales given the fact that they had beaten Slovakia in Cardiff in March.
Wales knew that by avoiding defeat and drawing level with Slovakia in the closing rounds of games then they would finish above them in the final standings on their head-to-head record.
Northern Ireland suffered disappointment in Rotterdam as Holland scored twice in stoppage time to snatch a 3-1 victory which leaves Euro 2020 qualification hopes hanging by a thread for Michael O’Neill’s men.
Josh Magennis’ 75th-minute header had Northern Ireland dreaming of a victory which would have ranked amongst their greatest results, but it all fell apart late on.
Memphis Depay levelled for the Dutch just five minutes after they fell behind, and then scored his second of the night in the fourth minute of stoppage time after Luuk de Jong scored the second.
It was brutally cruel on Northern Ireland, who had battled bravely for 90 minutes and looked like they would be rewarded with a point which kept them firmly in the conversation to reach next summer’s finals.
But instead they ended the night third in Group C, level on points with the Dutch and the Germans, who have both played a game less and who will both face Northern Ireland next month.