Czechs pip Scotland for promotion; Russia hopes end in humiliation

CZECH Republic beats neighbors Slovakia 2-0 to pip Scotland for promotion to the top tier of the Nations League on Wednesday while Russia’s hopes ended with a 5-0 humiliation in Serbia as Hungary went up instead.

Wales also qualified, beating Finland 3-1 after the visitors had Jere Uronen sent off after only 12 minutes, and Austria completed the quartet of promoted sides with a 1-1 draw at home to Norway.

Scotland began the evening of League B games one point clear at the top of Group B2, but paid for a flurry of missed first-half chances as they lost 1-0 to Israel with Manor Solomon scoring the winner one minute before halftime.

The Czechs took full advantage as goals in each half from Tomas Soucek and Zdenek Ondrasek gave them a 2-0 win over Slovakia who went down to League C.

Russia also had a chance of qualifying from Group B3, but were swept away as Serbia scored four goals before halftime.

Luka Jovic helped himself to a brace while Nemanja Radonjic and Dusan Vlahovic were also on target, with Filip Mladenovic adding a fifth in the second half.

Still, Russian coach Stanislav Cherchesov seemed unperturbed after their worst defeat since 2004.

“We started the campaign well, ended not so well. We have a lot of new young players and it’s not easy to succeed straight away,” he said. “We have a team, that’s the most important thing.”

Hungary topped the group with 11 points, three clear of Russia, after second-half goals from David Siger and Kevin Varga gave them a 2-0 win over Turkey who were relegated.

Adrian Grbic struck in the last minute to give Austria a 1-1 draw at home to Norway, who had gone ahead through Ghayas Zahid just after the hour. Northern Ireland were held 1-1 at home by Romania in the other Group B1 game and were relegated.

Austria topped the group with 13 points, three clear of Norway who, shortly before kickoff, learned they had forfeited Saturday’s match in Romania after their government prevented them from travelling over a positive COVID-19 results.

UEFA handed Romania a 3-0 win.

Wales needed only a draw against Finland to top Group B4 and that never looked in doubt after Uronen was sent off for hauling down Harry Wilson when he was clear on goal in the 12th minute.

Wilson gave Wales the lead from Gareth Bale’s pass in the 29th minute and Daniel James added another one minute after the restart. Teemu Pukki pulled one back and Kieffer Moore completed the Welsh win six minutes from time.

Bulgaria were relegated after a 0-0 draw with Ireland. — Reuters

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