Romania and Slovakia both progress after fiery draw

Group E

Slovakia 1-1 Romania

Romania’s Razvan Marin scored a first-half penalty to cancel out Ondrej Duda’s headed goal for Slovakia as the teams played out a 1-1 Euro 2024 Group E draw to both reach the last 16.

All four sides in Group E finished on four points, with Romania earning top spot on goals scored from Belgium, and Slovakia ending third, ahead Ukraine on goal difference.

Romania and Slovakia must wait until the completion of the group stage on Wednesday to learn their last-16 opponents, but Belgium go to Duesseldorf and face France on Monday.

Romania reached the knockout stages of the Euros for the first time since 2000, while for Slovakia it will be a second appearance in the last 16 after 2016, when they lost to Germany.

The game in Frankfurt was played in a feverish atmosphere, with the fervour in the stands matched by the helter-skelter nature of a match that was not high on quality, but had plenty of entertainment and intrigue.

Ondrej Duda heads Slovakia into an early lead.

The teams came into the game knowing a draw would be enough to send both through and there was plenty of talk in the build-up of the potential for them to contrive that, something the coaches denied vehemently.

Certainly, there was no lack of energy and endeavour, which slowed only towards the end of the game.

Slovakia opened the scoring midway through the first half with the simplest of goals that will have left Romania coach Edward Iordanescu fuming.

Juraj Kucka curled in a cross from the right and Duda was left unmarked between two defenders to head across goal and into the net.

Romania were restricted to shots from range, none of which troubled Slovakia goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

That was until they were awarded a penalty when Ianis Hagi was felled by Slovakia defender David Hancko.

Razvan Marin celebrates after scoring from the spot.

German referee Daniel Siebert initially gave a free kick as the contact looked outside the box, but compatriot Bastian Dankert in the Video Assistant Referee booth ruled it was inside.

Marin made no mistake with the spot-kick as he rifled it into the top corner, signalling a thunderous eruption of joy from the Romanian fans in the stadium, who appeared to outnumber their Slovak counterparts by four to one.

Lukas Haraslin’s storming run down the left wing created a shooting chance, but his fierce effort was straight at Romania goalkeeper Florin Nita.

The Romanian fans sang non-stop through the second half, only pausing momentarily when lightning struck in the vicinity of the stadium, creating a massive clap of thunder not even they could drown out.

The chances continued at either end, with handling made more difficult for the goalkeepers by a sudden torrential downpour as the heat turned to driving wind and rain, but both sets of supporters were left to celebrate wildly at the final whistle.

Today’s other result:

Group E

  • Ukraine 0-0 Belgium

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