The identity of all 16 countries at next summer's UEFA EURO 2004™ finals is now known after the final five slots were settled by last night's play-off second legs.
Quintet book trips
Croatia, Russia, Spain, Latvia and the Netherlands all booked their trips to Portugal on a night that saw 15 goals and plenty of drama. The first side to squeeze through were the Croatians, courtesy of a 1-0 win in Ljubljana against neighbours Slovenia which secured a narrow 2-1 aggregate win.
Dado Pršo continued his prolific form of late with the only goal of the game as Croatia ended the Slovenians' bid to reach a third major tournament in a row. [Click here for full report].
In Oslo, a clinical display of finishing from Spain ended the hopes of their hosts Norway as Iñaki Sáez's side ran out 3-0 winners on the night and 5-1 on aggregate. Raúl González opened the scoring in the first half and further efforts from Vicente Rodríguez and Joseba Etxeberría rounded off a satisfying night's work for the Spaniards. The disappointment for Norway was acute, with coach Nils Johan Semb announcing after the game that he is stepping down from his post with immediate effect. [Click here for full report].
Latvia staged the most remarkable comeback of the night by coming from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Turkey in Istanbul and thus reach their first ever major tournament 3-2 on aggregate. Jurijs Laizans and Maris Verpakovskis struck for the visitors as the 2002 FIFA World Cup semi-finalists came unstuck. [Click here for full report].
Welsh disappointment goes on
Finally, there was disappointment for the two British sides in action last night. Wales' 45-year wait for another appearance at a major finals goes on after they fell 1-0 at home to Russia to lose by the same score on aggregate. Vadim Evseev scored the only goal of the tie for the jubilant Russians. [Click here for full report].
Dutch make Scotland pay
Meanwhile in Amsterdam, the Netherlands made Scotland pay for the impertinence of their 1-0 first-leg win with a 6-0 victory. Ruud van Nistelrooij hit a hat-trick as the Dutch put the disappointment of failing to qualify for the last World Cup firmly behind them. [Click here for full report].
UEFA EURO 2004™ final round participants:
The draw for the final tournament will be held on Sunday 30 November.
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