Hungary qualifies for Euro 2024 with own-goal in stoppage time in match marred by violence

Hungary secured its place in the Euro 2024 Football Championship in a nail-biting match against Bulgaria, marked by a last-minute own-goal. However, the victory was overshadowed by violent clashes outside the stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria, as fans expressed their discontent with the management of the Bulgarian soccer federation.

Violent Protests and Empty Stadium Woes

As Hungary aimed for its third consecutive European Championship qualification, Bulgarian fans took to the streets to protest against the perceived mismanagement of their national team. The discontent was fueled by recent embarrassing losses to Albania and Lithuania, prompting fans to demand the resignation of officials.

Protesters vented their frustration outside the stadium by hurling makeshift bombs, stones, and plastic bottles at the police. The situation escalated when trash cans were set ablaze, leading law enforcement to respond with a water cannon. Reports from local media indicated injuries among the protesters, painting a grim backdrop to the football drama unfolding within the empty stadium.

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Bulgaria’s Struggle and National Outcry

The Bulgarian national team, struggling to secure a spot in major tournaments for almost two decades, faced increased scrutiny from its supporters. The decision to play the crucial match against Hungary in an empty stadium only added fuel to the fire of discontent.

With a string of poor results, including losses to Albania and Lithuania, the calls for a nationwide protest reached a crescendo. The Bulgarian fans blamed the soccer federation’s management for the team’s lackluster performance, setting the stage for the chaotic scenes witnessed in Sofia.

Hungary’s Rollercoaster Qualification Journey

The match itself proved to be a rollercoaster of emotions for both Hungary and Bulgaria. Martin Ádám gave Hungary an early lead in the 10th minute, only for Bulgaria to mount a comeback with goals from Spas Delev in the 24th minute.

The intensity of the game reached its peak as both teams finished with 10 men. Valentin Antov received a second yellow card for Bulgaria in the 37th minute, while Hungary’s Milos Kerkez saw his second yellow in the 57th minute. With Bulgaria looking set for a rare qualifying victory, defender Alex Petkov’s own-goal in the seventh minute of added time dashed their hopes and handed Hungary the precious point needed for Euro 2024 qualification.

Group G Standings and Hungary’s Triumph

The draw against Bulgaria left Hungary two points ahead of Serbia in Group G after seven matches. Third-place Montenegro, with eight points, had a chance to close the gap in their later game against Lithuania. Serbia eyed the opportunity to secure their spot in the tournament, provided Montenegro failed to beat the already-eliminated Lithuania.

Despite a missed chance in the previous match against Lithuania, Hungary, led by Italian coach Marco Rossi, finally clinched their spot at Euro 2024. The qualification journey, marred by challenges and protests, added an extra layer of significance to Hungary’s achievement.

Euro 2024 Group Updates Of Football

Spain’s Continued Dominance

In Group A, Spain continued its dominant run, defeating Cyprus 3-1. Already assured of their spot at Euro 2024, Spain maintained its first-place standing in the group. Lamine Yamal, Mikel Oyarzabal, and Joselu contributed first-half goals, securing a two-point lead over second-place Scotland.

Scotland, having already qualified, settled for a 2-2 draw against Georgia. Lawrence Shankland’s goal in second-half stoppage time salvaged a point for Scotland. The draw kept them two points behind Spain in the group standings.

Austria Leads Group F

In Group F, Austria seized a two-point lead over Belgium by defeating last-place Estonia 2-0. Konrad Laimer and Philipp Lienhart scored first-half goals for Austria, who had already secured their place in Euro 2024. Despite the loss, Belgium remained in contention, having played a game less than Austria.

Meanwhile, third-place Sweden suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of fourth-place Azerbaijan, who played with a numerical disadvantage from the 57th minute. Captain Emin Makhmudov’s goals in each half secured Azerbaijan’s victory, highlighting the unpredictable nature of the group stage. As the Euro 2024 qualification journey unfolds, each match brings its share of drama, triumphs, and challenges, creating an unforgettable narrative for football enthusiasts across the continent.

The Impact of Bulgaria’s Turmoil on European Football

Unraveling the Bulgarian Soccer Federation Crisis

The chaos surrounding Bulgaria’s qualification match against Hungary underscored deeper issues within the Bulgarian Soccer Federation. The protests and violent clashes were symptomatic of the frustration felt by fans who believed that mismanagement was at the root of the national team’s prolonged underperformance.

The demand for the resignation of officials reflected a growing discontentment that had been brewing for some time. With Bulgaria failing to qualify for major tournaments for almost two decades, the fans saw the Hungary match as a turning point. The decision to hold the game in an empty stadium, likely intended to minimize disruptions, only intensified the fans’ anger.

Hungary’s Resilience and Managerial Leadership

In the midst of the chaos, Hungary showcased resilience on the field, bouncing back from a challenging position to secure a crucial point. Italian coach Marco Rossi played a pivotal role in guiding the team through adversity. The qualification for Euro 2024 marked a significant achievement for Hungary, especially after a missed opportunity in the previous match against Lithuania.

Rossi’s strategic acumen and the players’ determination became evident in the face of adversity. The own-goal that sealed Hungary’s qualification was a twist of fate that showcased the unpredictable nature of football, adding a layer of drama to an already intense match.

Group Dynamics and Euro 2024 Prospects

With Hungary securing its spot, the focus shifted to the broader dynamics of the Euro 2024 qualification groups. Spain’s continued dominance in Group A, despite already securing qualification, highlighted the team’s consistency and strength. Meanwhile, Scotland’s draw against Georgia showcased the unpredictable nature of football, where even qualified teams faced challenges.

In Group F, Austria’s lead over Belgium emphasized the team’s form and determination. The loss suffered by Sweden against Azerbaijan served as a reminder that every match in the group stage carried significance, shaping the final standings and determining the teams that would advance to Euro 2024.

The Unpredictable Nature of Football

The Euro 2024 qualification process has unfolded as a captivating narrative, with each match contributing to the overall drama of the tournament. From protests and clashes outside the stadium to last-minute own-goals, the journey to Euro 2024 has been far from predictable.

As teams navigate the challenges and fans passionately support their nations, the tournament promises to be a showcase of football at its finest. The blend of individual talent, strategic brilliance, and the emotional rollercoaster experienced by fans creates an unparalleled spectacle, uniting football enthusiasts across Europe.



In the wake of Hungary’s dramatic qualification, the Euro 2024 journey continues to unfold, shaping the landscape of European football. The protests and clashes in Bulgaria serve as a stark reminder of the deep connection between football and societal issues. As the focus shifts to the tournament itself, anticipation builds for the clashes, triumphs, and unexpected twists that will define Euro 2024 and etch the participating teams’ stories into the annals of football history.

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