Slovakia soars past Iceland to keep hopes alive

Lukáš Haraslín’s standout performance led Slovakia to secure their spot in the 2024 UEFA European Championship finals with a thrilling 4-2 victory over Iceland at the Tehelné Pole Stadium.

Iceland, aware that only a win in Slovakia could keep their hopes alive for automatic qualification, made an impressive start as Orri Óskarsson headed in Victor Pálsson’s ambitious pass, putting them ahead in the early stages.

However, Slovakia, knowing that avoiding defeat would secure their qualification alongside Group J leaders Portugal, equalized just before the half-hour mark. Juraj Kucka’s powerful header from Lukáš Haraslín’s corner beat the Icelandic goalkeeper and a defender on the goal-line, leveling the score. Moments later, Ondrej Duda converted a penalty awarded via VAR after Kristian Hlynsson’s foul on him, giving Slovakia the lead before halftime.

Slovakia wasted no time in the second half, extending their lead within minutes as Haraslín’s mesmerizing run and strike left Iceland’s defense puzzled. His confidence soaring, Haraslín scored another stunning goal, mirroring his earlier strike, leaving the goalkeeper helpless.

Iceland managed a consolation goal through substitute Andri Guðjohnsen’s quick finish from a corner. Despite this late effort, Slovakia’s victory sealed their second win against Iceland in the 2024 H2H ECQ clashes, securing their place in the finals. Meanwhile, Iceland now must rely on the playoffs for a chance at securing their spot in only their second-ever UEFA European Championship finals.