Peter Gulacsi was let off the hook for a dreadful error as Dominik Szoboszlai’s stoppage-time strike completed a stunning turnaround.
Dominik Szoboszlai’s superb strike completed a remarkable late turnaround as Hungary secured their spot at Euro 2020 with a stunning 2-1 win over Iceland.
Having defended brilliantly amid a Hungary onslaught, Iceland looked to be heading to their second European Championship thanks to Gylfi Sigurdsson’s 11th-minute opener, which came courtesy of Peter Gulacsi’s howler.
Yet after substitute Albert Gudmundsson missed a glorious chance to wrap up the win in the 87th minute, Hungary struck twice to book their place at next year’s finals.
- Incompatible with Messi & overtaken by Lautaro: Dybala in danger of becoming Argentina’s forgotten man
- Where is Megan Rapinoe? How the USWNT star followed 2019 accolades with 2020 crusades
- Robert Lewandowski: The perfect season from the perfect striker
- Ronaldo the fifth-best player in the world: Is the Juventus ace in decline?
Loic Nego had prodded in from close range, before star man Szoboszlai stole victory, thumping in off the upright to thwart Iceland in the most dramatic fashion.
Goal 50 Revealed: The best 50 players in the world
Szoboszlai with a sweet finish to put Hungary ahead! #EURO2020 https://t.co/zim2Zxk0Gp
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) November 12, 2020
Gulacsi had work to do in the fourth minute, holding onto Victor Palsson’s header, yet Hungary’s goalkeeper was left embarrassed soon after.
Sigurdsson’s free-kick curled straight into Gulacsi’s arms, only for the RB Leipzig man to fumble it over the line.
Willi Orban and Birkir Bjarnason exchanged chances as Hungary looked to hit back, but the hosts did not truly test Hannes Halldorsson until he kept out Szoboszlai’s deflected free-kick in the 45th minute, before Gulacsi denied Sigurdsson a second at the other end.
Hungary wanted a penalty when Adam Szalai went down under pressure from Sigurdsson after the restart, but the referee dismissed their appeals.
Iceland’s stubborn rearguard looked set to be enough, and the visitors seemed to have the win in their grasp when Gudmundsson latched onto Jon Dadi Bodvarsson’s cross, only to slice wide of a gaping goal.
Hungary capitalised on that miss, with Nego on hand to poke in after Kari Arnason inadvertently played the ball into his path.
Iceland pressed for a winner, yet this was Hungary’s night and, after a rapid counter, Szoboszlai slotted in from the edge of the area to spark jubilant celebrations at an empty Puskas Arena.
What does it mean? Hungary to face Euro heavyweights
Hungary – who were playing without their coach Marco Rossi on the touchline after he tested positive for coronavirus – have now won three of their past four fixtures, though they face a huge task at next year’s finals, as they will join Germany, France and defending champions Portugal in a daunting Group F.
Szoboszlai’s star continues to rise
Arsenal are reportedly interested in Salzburg playmaker Szoboszlai, who has scored some excellent goals for club and country already this term.
The 20-year-old turned in a match-winning display on Thursday, with his goal capping off a performance in which he created a game-high six chances while attempting three shots and 11 crosses.
Gulacsi gets away with it
In seven Bundesliga appearances so far for Leipzig this term, Gulacsi has not made any errors leading to goals and has conceded only four times.
His mistake for Sigurdsson’s opener was a complete calamity, however, even if his five saves – which all came in the first half – ultimately helped secure victory.
Serbia are next up for Hungary, who sit second in Nations League Group B3, while Iceland – already relegated from the top flight – face Denmark.