Wales qualify for Euro 2020 finals – as it happened!

Scott Murray on 19 November 2019

Updated

Ryan Giggs speaks. “It doesn’t get any better. It’s amazing. From where we were in the summer ... credit to the lads for coming back. They’ve shown great determination and quality. It’s one of the best days of my life! We missed Aaron Ramsey, but better late than never! I’m blessed with a good set of players and the best staff I could ask for. And the fans are part of it. We’re going to go on another trip!”

Updated

The full-times:

  • Germany 6-1 Northern Ireland
  • Netherlands 5-0 Estonia
  • Wales 2-0 Hungary
  • Slovakia 2-0 Azerbaijan
  • North Macedonia 1-0 Israel
  • Poland 3-2 Slovenia
  • Latvia 1-0 Austria
  • Scotland 3-1 Kazakhstan
  • Belgium 6-1 Cyprus
  • San Marino 0-5 Russia

The Welsh hero Aaron Ramsey is all smiles, as you’d expect. “We had the best time of our lives in France, and we wanted to make sure we got there this time, having missed out at the World Cup. I missed a lot of this campaign, but it was all worthwhile. Chipping in with a couple of goals tonight was amazing!”

His friend Gareth Bale, arm draped around his shoulder, is in equally bouncy mode. The adrenaline pumping, he sails off into blooper territory as he jokes: “It’s about time he contributed, innit?! Fucking ... oops!” Meme ahoy!

Glorious scenes back in Cardiff, though. The team charge at their support, holding hands, the party started. A lovely moment, though, when Gareth Bale breaks off to console Gergo Lovrencsics, who was distraught, in tears. Shades of Andrew Flintoff and Brett Lee at Edgbaston during the 2005 Ashes. Bittersweet.

Gareth Bale comforts a dejected Gergo Lovrencsics.
Gareth Bale comforts a dejected Gergo Lovrencsics. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA

Updated

BUT LET’S NOT FORGET ABOUT THE SCOTS! Scotland 3-1 Kazakhstan (John McGinn 90). This will be three wins in a row for Steve Clarke’s side. Admittedly they’ve only had to play San Marino, Cyprus and Kazakhstan, but from small acorns, and all that.

FULL TIME: Wales 2-0 Hungary

WALES QUALIFY FOR EURO 2020! The Welsh make it to only their third major finals in their history! And their qualification is fully deserved! They picked up momentum at the business end, and here’s their reward! They were excellent to a man this evening ... but the plaudits go to Aaron Ramsey, who scored both goals on his return. They’ve missed him, huh?

Ryan Giggs celebrates at the final whistle.
Ryan Giggs celebrates at the final whistle. Photograph: Rebecca Naden/Reuters

Updated

GOAL ELSEWHERE! Poland 3-2 Slovenia (Jacek Goralski 81). But never mind that, because ...

GOAL ELSEWHERE! Germany 6-1 Northern Ireland (Julian Brandt 90). Brandt tears down the inside left and fizzes a shot across Peacock-Farrell and into the top right. This is now officially a rout. “Thank goodness Stoke doesn’t have to play Germany any time soon,” quips Josh Reynolds.

GOAL ELSEWHERE! Holland 5-0 Estonia (Myron Boadu 87). The Dutch celebrate their return to the top table in style.

GOAL ELSEWHERE! Slovakia 2-0 Azerbaijan (Marek Hamsik 86). Too little, too late for Slovakia. A Hungarian equaliser in Cardiff would have seen them through. But Ryan Giggs’ men were not to be denied.

88 min: Gareth Bale leaves the field of play, to be replaced by Harry Wilson. A chance for Cardiff to show their appreciation of their world star. Wilson gets a grand reception as he comes on, too. The Welsh are a happy bunch right now.

86 min: So having said that, a scrappy scramble erupts in the Welsh box. Joe Allen is on hand to tidy up. A goal for Hungary now would put the cat among the pigeons all right.

83 min: Hungary are causing Wales no problems whatsoever. The hosts have the feet up on the desk, cigar on. That isn’t stopping their fans looking extremely nervous, as the prize of qualification edges ever closer. But you can understand that. It’s how football supporters roll.

GOAL! San Marino 0-5 Russia (Nikolai Komlichenko 78). For the record, Scotland scored two when they visited the microstate.

GOAL ELSEWHERE! Holland 4-0 Estonia (Georginio Wijnaldum 78). A hat-trick for one of the most underrated midfielders in Europe.

Georginio Wijnaldum celebrates scoring against Estonia.
Georginio Wijnaldum celebrates scoring against Estonia. Photograph: Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Updated

GOAL ELSEWHERE! Belgium 6-1 Cyprus (Christian Benteke 68). The clock is ticking very slowly for the Cypriots.

GOAL ELSEWHERE! Poland 2-2 Slovenia (Josip Ilicic 61). A point would secure third spot for Slovenia; Poland have long been home and hosed.

75 min: Everyone in the Cardiff City Stadium is in party mode already. James burns his way down the left and cuts back for Ramsey, who hooks for the bottom right. His hat-trick effort is blocked and hacked clear. Wales are purring.

GOAL ELSEWHERE! Germany 5-1 Northern Ireland (Leon Goretzka 72). That Michael Smith goal seems a long time ago now. Goretzka scores his second of the evening, a crisp drive into the bottom left from the edge of the area.

GOAL ELSEWHERE! Holland 3-0 Estonia (Georginio Wijnaldum 66). A second for the Liverpool midfielder, who now has eight goals in this campaign already for club and country.

Updated

GOAL ELSEWHERE! Latvia 1-0 Austria (Marcis Oss 65). Goals in every qualifier this evening. Marvellous.

GOAL ELSEWHERE! Scotland 2-1 Kazakhstan (Steven Naismith 64). Onwards and upwards.

Naismith scores!
Naismith scores! Photograph: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Updated

66 min: Daniel James is a class act. The Manchester United winger makes himself a bit of space on the left, sashays infield, and curls a delightful shot towards the top right. It’s beaten Gulacsi all ends up, but goes over the bar. An inch or so away. Factor in Bale’s earlier free kick, and Wales have been about five centimetres away from a four-goal lead. They’ve been very impressive tonight indeed.

GOAL ELSEWHERE! Poland 2-1 Slovenia (Robert Lewandowski 54). With Serge Gnabry going goal crazy, his Bayern Munich team-mate gets in on the act.

GOAL ELSEWHERE! Germany 4-1 Northern Ireland (Serge Gnabry 60). Julian Brandt slips a lovely ball down the inside-left channel. Serge Gnabry shoulders debutant Tom Flanagan out of the road with ease, opens his body, and sidefoots past Bailey Peacock-Farrell for his hat-trick.

GOAL ELSEWHERE! San Marino 0-4 Russia (Aleksei Ionov 56). Also no doubt recalling how Belgium beat San Marino 9-0 last month: San Marino.

58 min: Wales are looking extremely comfortable right now. Moore nearly breaks clear down the left, chasing a monster punt, but he can’t quite latch onto the ball for a shot.

GOAL ELSEWHERE! Belgium 5-1 Cyprus (Kypros Christoforou 51 og). This could get ugly for Cyprus. Belgium beat San Marino 9-0 last month, they’ll no doubt recall.

GOAL ELSEWHERE! Scotland 1-1 Kazakhstan (John McGinn 48). The rebuild starts in earnest here!

52 min: Bale nearly gets it, too. He whips a vicious free kick over the wall and back down towards the top right. Gulacsi is nowhere. The ball nearly shaves the top of the crossbar. So close to a spectacular third.

51 min: Hungary suddenly look ragged and desperate. Barath bundles Moore to the ground, just to the left of the D. Bale’s eyes light up. Two goals already for Ramsey. He wants a piece of the action.

GOAL ELSEWHERE! Germany 3-1 Northern Ireland (Serge Gnabry 47). A second for the former Arsenal man, and there’s more grist to Grant Tennille’s mill (8.26pm).

Ramsey celebrates his second.
Ramsey celebrates his second. Photograph: Kieran McManus/BPI/Rex/Shutterstock

Updated

GOAL! Wales 2-0 Hungary (Ramsey 47)

But all of that may be immaterial! A free kick out on the left. Ben Davies swings it in. Moore tries to connect on the penalty spot. His shank flies through a packed box to Ramsey, free on the left-hand edge of the six-yard box. Ramsey takes a calm touch, and lifts a shot over Gulacsi and into the net. Cardiff erupts in delight! Wales are so close now!

Aaron Ramsey lifts the ball over Gulacsi for the second!
Aaron Ramsey lifts the ball over Gulacsi for the second! Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images/Reuters

Updated

The second half gets underway in Cardiff! And elsewhere too, we’ll be bound. A reminder of the state of play. As things stand, Wales are going to Euro 2020 next year. They have to win, or it’s the play-offs for them. A draw is no good to them. A draw might not be good enough for Hungary, either; Slovakia, currently leading against Azerbaijan, would pip them to automatic qualification on the head-to-head should they hold on as expected.

Scotland were booed off at half-time. No huge surprise there, if you’d read Ewan Murray’s analysis yesterday.

The half-time scores.

  • Germany 2-1 Northern Ireland
  • Netherlands 2-0 Estonia
  • Wales 1-0 Hungary
  • Slovakia 1-0 Azerbaijan
  • North Macedonia 1-0 Israel
  • Poland 1-1 Slovenia
  • Latvia 0-0 Austria
  • Scotland 0-1 Kazakhstan
  • Belgium 4-1 Cyprus
  • San Marino 0-2 Russia

GOAL ELSEWHERE! North Macedonia 1-0 Israel (Boban Nikolov 45). A diminuendo end to the first-half goal rush.

HALF TIME: Wales 1-0 Hungary

The big boys Bale and Ramsey combine, and as things stand, the 2016 semi-finalists are heading back to the finals!

GOALS ELSEWHERE! And it’s another quickfire double in Brussels. Belgium 3-1 Cyprus (Kevin De Bruyne 41); Belgium 4-1 Cyprus (Yannick Carrasco 44). Three goals in nine minutes for the number-one-ranked team in the world.

GOAL ELSEWHERE! Germany 2-1 Northern Ireland (Leon Goretzka 43). Goretzka slides in to force Jonas Hector’s left-wing cross in off the right-hand post.

Kazakhstan, though. On the head-to-head, Scotland are currently trailing the 116th best team in the world 4-0.

39 min: Ben Davies, currently without a manager at club level, cuts in from the left and makes space for a shot. Then he dawdles a little, and his eventual effort is blocked. Nice run, though. Meanwhile here’s Grant Tennille with a little succour for Mauricio Pochettino: “Ramsey ... Gnabry ... perhaps the universe is reminding dear old Poch there’s indeed life after being unceremoniously shuffled out of North London.”

GOAL ELSEWHERE! Belgium 2-1 Cyprus (Kevin De Bruyne 35). You come at the king, you better not miss. Are Belgium favourites for Euro 2020? If not, they should be.

GOAL ELSEWHERE! Scotland 0-1 Kazakhstan (Baktiyor Zaynutdinov 34). Twas ever thus.

34 min: What a double save by Hennessey! A long pass down the inside-right channel. Ad Szalai cushions a header down for Szoboszlai, who must score from eight yards! But he shoots straight at the keeper. The ball rebounds to Sallai, just to his left. Sallai should score as well, but Hennessey somehow manages to smother! That is quite superb goalkeeping.

29 min: Wonderful end-to-end fun as Szoboszlai nearly dances straight down the middle of the park and into the Welsh box. He’s stopped at the very last possible opportunity by Mepham, who steps across to block and steal possession. Szoboszlai wants a penalty, but he’s not getting it, and Wales rip upfield. Bale is found in acres out on the right, and his cross is headed wide right by Moore. Had that been on target, it was going into the bottom right, because Gulacsi’s feet were planted.

A chance for Kieffer Moore but he heads wide.
A chance for Kieffer Moore but he heads wide. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

Updated

28 min: Hungary are slowly establishing a foothold. They ping it around awhile. Moore gets fed up and concedes a free kick in the midfield with his elbow. No booking, but he complains quite a lot, and on the touchline Giggsy joins in. A little bit of frustration seeping out.

26 min: Ramsey is very fortunate to escape a booking as he slides through the back of Szoboszlai. From the resulting free kick, pumped into the Welsh box from the left, Barath wastes a decent half-chance by slapping a header miles over the bar.

GOALS ELSEWHERE! Slovakia 1-0 Azerbaijan (Robert Bozenik 19); San Marino 0-2 Russia (Sergei Petrov 19); Poland 1-1 Slovenia (Tim Matavz 14). There we are, another goal in Serravalle.

GOALS ELSEWHERE! Holland 1-0 Estonia (Georginio Wijnaldum 6); Holland 2-0 Estonia (Nathan Ake 19). I’ll be frank with you, I’ve bitten off more than I can chew here.

GOAL! Germany 1-1 Northern Ireland (Serge Gnabry 19). A spin on a sixpence, and Gnabry belts a shot towards the top right. Peacock-Farrell gets a hand to it, but he’s never keeping it out.

GOALS ELSEWHERE! And they’ve both come in Brussels. Belgium 0-1 Cyprus (Nicholas Ioannou 14); Belgium 1 -1 Cyprus (Christian Benteke 16). There’s you thinking all tonight’s real action was in N17.

Ramsey celebrates!
Ramsey celebrates! Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

Updated

GOAL! Wales 1-0 Hungary (Aaron Ramsey 15)

Simple but effective! And the two big stars combine. Connor Roberts slips a pass down the right wing for Bale, who reaches the byline, cuts back abruptly, and curls a vicious cross into the centre, where Ramsey has timed his run perfectly. He meets the cross and powers a header past the helpless Gulacsi. As things stand, Wales are going to Euro 2020!

Aaron Ramsey powers a header past the helpless Gulacsi!
Aaron Ramsey powers a header past the helpless Gulacsi! Photograph: Kieran McManus/BPI/Rex/Shutterstock

Updated

13 min: Wales put their first serious attack together, and it’s a visual delight. James tears down the left wing and glides infield. He lays off to Ramsey, who considers shooting from distance but shuttles the ball towards Bale on the right. Bale cuts back into the penalty box and attempts a curler towards the top left. He doesn’t quite catch it, and it’s an easy snaffle for Gulacsi in the Hungary goal. But that’s got the crowd going again, after a quiet couple of minutes.

Not a great deal happening in Cardiff yet. In lieu of action in a match we previously thought would provide us with tonight’s big story, here’s David Hytner on Pochettino’s dismissal. Poor Mauricio. Po’ Poch’s a-cold.

SENSATIONAL GOAL ELSEWHERE! Germany 0-1 Northern Ireland (Michael Smith 7). There won’t be a better goal scored all evening! Jonas Hector launches a clearing header upfield. There’s nothing much wrong with it. But it finds Michael Smith in acres of space, and he larrups a riser into the top left from the best part of 30 yards! A proper old-school netbuster! Michael O’Neill, what a manager.

6 min: Wales are knocking it around nicely. No need to rush, as their boss Ryan Giggs said before kick-off. The home fans are keeping their team honest with plenty of encouraging noise.

GOAL ELSEWHERE! Poland 1-0 Slovenia (Sebastian Szymanski 3). Early action in Warsaw. I’m already beginning to regret committing to goal alerts for every match.

GOAL ELSEWHERE! San Marino 0-1 Russia (Daler Kuzyaev 3). By the looks of it, the scoring in Serravalle won’t end here.

40 seconds or so: Dzsudzsak has a lash from distance. The ball’s sailing towards Barry. What a very strange time to be getting shot of Poch, though, towards the end of a two-week international break. There’s forward planning for you. Can’t wait to hear the story behind this one.

Here we go then! Kick off in Cardiff! Hungary get the ball rolling. Incidentally, it’s also kicking off in north London, where Tottenham Hotspur have just sacked Mauricio Pochettino. No doubt you’ll be hearing more of that soon. But one thing at a time.

The teams are out at the Cardiff City Stadium! Wales are all in dragon red. Hungary are fond of that colour too, so are forced into second-choice white. Bedlam as the players take to the field; both anthems given a proper belt. Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau delivered with particular hwyl. We’ll be off in a minute.

The legendary Nandor Hidegkuti wears Hungary’s famous red shirt, here pictured in black and white. Oh England!
The legendary Nandor Hidegkuti wears Hungary’s famous red shirt, here pictured in black and white. Oh England! Photograph: POPPERFOTO

Ryan Giggs, appearing very calm and relaxed, has a quick pre-match chat with Sky. “Aaron Ramsey is fit. He got minutes the other day. He’s raring to go. Ramsey and Bale have quality and experience. We’ve not had them together for a long time, Aaron’s been missing for about a year. But there are other players as well, it’s not just about those two. We will need to play as a team to get the victory. We might have to be patient. If we win the game early on, that’s even better. But it might go to the last minute, so we have to play our football and be patient. Momentum has been building, and we’re in good form. Everyone knows it’s a big game, but you can’t get carried away, we’re against a very good organised team and we’ll have to play well to win. I’m sure the fans will get behind us, and we’ll try to give them something to cheer about.”

If It Ain’t Broke dept. Scotland name the same side that started Saturday’s 2-1 victory in Cyprus.

Tom Flanagan replaces Jonny Evans in the Northern Ireland defence for the dead rubber in Germany. The Sunderland defender makes his first competitive start, standing in for the Leicester man, who has succumbed to illness. Jordan Thompson also starts a meaningful international for the first time, replacing fellow midfielder Stuart Dallas. Shane Ferguson comes in for the injured Jamal Lewis at left-back.

Germany coach Joachim Low makes five changes to the side that beat Belarus 4-0 on Saturday. Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Jonas Hector, Jonathan Tah, Julian Brandt and Emre Can replace Manuel Neuer, Robin Koch, Matthias Ginter, Timo Werner and Nico Schulz. Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan stars in midfield.

Updated

Aaron Ramsey is match fit, and thus returns to the Wales starting XI. Ryan Giggs makes two changes from the side named ahead of the 2-0 win in Azerbaijan on Saturday. Ramsey replaces Harry Wilson; it’s his first Wales start in over a year. Meanwhile Joe Allen is back from suspension, and replaces Ethan Ampadu in midfield.

Hungary are without injured central defenders Tamas Kadar and Willi Orban. They’re also missing the suspended Mihaly Korhut and Laszlo Kleinheisler.

Ramsey and Bale warm up in Cardiff.
Ramsey and Bale warm up in Cardiff. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images/Reuters

Updated

Tonight's teams

Wales: Hennessey, Connor Roberts, Lockyer, Mepham, Ben Davies, Allen, Morrell, Bale, Ramsey, James, Moore.
Subs: Ampadu, Levitt, King, Matondo, Vokes, Tyler Roberts, Vaulks, Wilson, Adam Davies, Williams, Gunter, Jamie Lawrence.
Hungary: Gulacsi, Lovrencsics, Barath, Lang, Zsolt Nagy, Patkai, Adam Nagy, Dzsudzsak, Szoboszlai, Sallai, Adam Szalai.
Subs: Kovacsik, Varga, Holman, Kovacs, Attila Szalai, Gazdag, Pavkovics, Vida, Dibusz, Holender, Bese, Feczesin.

Germany: ter Stegen, Klostermann, Can, Tah, Hector, Gundogan, Kimmich, Kroos, Goretzka, Gnabry, Brandt.
Subs: Leno, Rudy, Koch, Ginter, Serdar, Neuer, Amiri, Stark, Schulz, Werner.
Northern Ireland: Peacock-Farrell, McNair, Cathcart, Flanagan, Smith, Corry Evans, Davis, Saville, Ferguson, Thompson, Magennis.
Subs: Lavery, McGinn, Brown, Carson, Kennedy, Donnelly, McGovern, McLaughlin, Boyce, Lafferty.

Scotland: Marshall, Palmer, Gallagher, McKenna, Taylor, Jack, McGregor, Christie, McGinn, Forrest, Naismith.
Subs: MacGillivray, Shinnie, Fleck, Burke, McBurnie, Porteous, McLaughlin, Armstrong, Devlin, O’Donnell, Brophy, Morgan.
Kazakhstan: Nepogodov, Marochkin, Maliy, Shomko, Abiken, Pertsukh, Logvinenko, Suyumbayev, Zaynutdinov, Islamkhan, Shchetkin.
Subs: Tagybergen, Aimbetov, Miroshnichenko, Erlanov, Pokatilov, Zhukov, Alip, Fedin, Kuat, Kerimzhanov, Shatski.

Preamble

Wales versus Hungary, is it? Ah yes.

Gareth, please take notes.

Ivor Allchurch there, setting Wales on their way to victory against the Magyarok at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. More of this sort of spectacular behaviour this evening would be most welcome, as Wales stand on the brink of Euro 2020 qualification. A win tonight, and it’s theirs. A situation they’d have grabbed with both hands when they lost in Budapest 12 months ago.

For that reason, this MBM-Clockwatch hybrid will mostly be concentrating on events in Cardiff. But there are another nine matches being played this evening, a qualifying card that also includes (admittedly meaningless) games involving Scotland and Northern Ireland. We’ll keep you posted of events in those too.

  • Germany v Northern Ireland
  • Netherlands v Estonia
  • Wales v Hungary
  • Slovakia v Azerbaijan
  • North Macedonia v Israel
  • Poland v Slovenia
  • Latvia v Austria
  • Scotland v Kazakhstan
  • Belgium v Cyprus
  • San Marino v Russia

All games kick off at 7.45pm GMT. Will the Welsh make it to the finals? Can Scotland and Northern Ireland end their group campaigns on a high? We’ll find out soon enough. It’s on!

Updated

Latest football headlines

Latest Football News