In what proved to be a definitive showdown from Oslo on Sunday night, Spain’s 1-0 victory against Norway clinched both La Roja’s and Scotland’s ticket to next year’s European Championships.
With Norway knowing that nothing less than three points would be enough to keep their fading qualifying dreams alive, it was Barcelona starlet Gavi who proved to be both Spain and Scotland’s hero as the 19-year-old bagged the only goal of the game four minutes after the half-time break.
Building momentum after their controversial 2-0 victory against the Tartan Army on home soil last week, Spain’s 1-0 win in Oslo now means that Luis de la Fuente’s side have won each of their previous six appearances on the spin.
Edging past Scotland in their race to wrap up top spot in Group A, there is no doubt that Sunday’s win would have been celebrated in both Madrid and Glasgow.
With Norway putting in a toothless performance here and missing out on snatching a final life line, the Lions will now have to battle it out via the Nations League play-offs.
In what was often a nervy affair from Oslo on Sunday night, we have taken a look at the main talking points.
Spain punch their EURO 24 ticket with a statement on foreign soil
While Spain might have shown some worrying issues when opening their qualifying adventure earlier in the year, the former European champions have come roaring back in some style.
Getting their hands on a maiden Nations League crown back in June as they edged past World Cup semi-finalists Croatia, La Roja have certainly gained a recent reputation for their gritty approach.
Eventually claiming what was a controversial 2-0 victory against Group A rivals Scotland on home soil last week, Spain have now won each of their last six appearances across all competitions and appear to have found some real momentum.
Appearing to bounce back from their World Cup disappointment out in Qatar last winter, the European icons could be fancying their chances of mounting a genuine charge at EURO 24.
Coming past what was billed as a tough test in Oslo on Sunday night and finding a route back to the top of the Group A standings, Spain will simply be looking to finish off their job as group winners next month.
More qualifying frustration for Norway
Although Norway might have opened their EURO 24 qualifying adventure this year tipped as a leading contender to follow Spain out of Group A, Sunday’s hosts have another bitter pill to swallow.
Simply struggling to keep pace with a high-flying Scotland and opening Sunday’s showdown knowing that nothing short of three points would be enough, Stale Solbakken’s side could take some time to recover from their Group A heartbreak.
While the record-breaking Erling Haaland might have continued on yet another free-scoring run with Premier League heavyweights Manchester City this season, he and Arsenal skipper Martin Odegaard failed to make any kind of impact here.
Remarkably not making a single appearance on the major tournament stage since way back at EURO 2000, Norway will be more than aware that their final hope remains via the Nations League play-offs.
Missing out on what almost everyone across Oslo had billed as a real qualifying opportunity this year, the Lions have to dust themselves down quickly ahead of another nervy qualifying campaign.
A victory that brought joy across Scotland
While Spain’s 1-0 victory in Oslo on Sunday night might have officially punched Spain’s ticket to EURO 24, Gavis’s second-half strike wasn’t only hugely celebrated by La Roja’s travelling support.
With Spain’s winner also simultaneously securing Scotland’s spot in Germany for next year, it could be the Tartan Army’s success that steals most of the headlines from Sunday’s showdown.
Although Steve Clarke’s side might eventually fell to a controversial 2-0 loss away in Spain last week, it is fair to say that Scotland have gained a string of plaudits during their qualifying adventure this year.
Winning five of their six Group A appearances this year and certainly riding what has been an extended wave of momentum, the one-time Kilmarnock boss is now desperate for his side to mount a late charge for top spot.
While Spain might still be sat in pole position in Group A thanks to their superior goal difference, Scotland will be fancying their chances of punching their ticket to Germany with a major statement.
Norway: Nyland, Ryerson, Strandberg, Ostigard, Mening, Berg, Berge, Bobb, Odegaard, Aursnes, Haaland
Subs: Ajer, Thorstvedt, Sorloth, Nusa
Spain: Simon, Carvajal, Le Normand, Laporte, Garcia, Ruiz, Rodri, Gavi, Torres, Morata, Fati
Subs: Joselu, Garcia, Oyarzabal, Pedraza, Sancet
Goals: Gavi (49’)
Yellow Cards: Norway: Bobb, Ryerson – Spain: Le Normand, Laporte, Rodri, Morata
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Tobias Stieler
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