EURO 2016: Hungary first of four to qualify through playoffs


Hungary are the 21st team officially qualified for the 2016 European Championship to be played next summer in France after they topped Norway, 2-1 on Sunday (3-1 on aggregate), in the first of four qualification playoffs to be completed between now and Tuesday.

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Just as they did in the first leg on Thursday, Hungary took an early lead, conceded every bit of possession Norway could want (67 percent on Sunday; 63 percent in leg no. 1) and rode out the storm, before a late goal for either side.

Thursday’s goal came courtesy of a Laszlo Kleinheisler goal on his international debut; Sunday’s playoff-winning goal came through a stunning strike off the right foot of Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia) striker Tamas Priskin. Priskin took on two defenders all on his own down the left wing, cut inside past the first, split the both of them and rifled a right-footed laser for the far post.

Hungary grabbed a second goal through an own goal scored by Orjan Nyland in the 83rd minute. Markus Henriksen gave Norway a late consolation goal with 87 minutes on the clock.

The EURO 2016 qualification is Hungary’s first in major tournament since the 1986 World Cup, and marks their first EURO appearance since 1972. They will likely be placed into Pot 3 ahead of the group stage draw, which is to be held Dec. 12 in Paris.