Soccer-Hungary, Iceland and North Macedonia reach Euro playoff finals

OSLO, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Hungary, Iceland, North Macedonia and Georgia were the first four teams to advance to the Euro 2020 playoff finals on Thursday after beating their respective opponents to earn a shot at reaching next year’s tournament.

Four other games - Norway v Serbia, Bosnia v Northern Ireland, Slovakia v Ireland and Scotland v Israel - went to extra time, with the winners also going through to the playoff finals on Nov. 12.

Goals from Willi Orban, Zsolt Kalmar and Nemanja Nikolic gave the Hungarians a 3-1 win in Bulgaria while Iceland edged visitors Romania 2-1 with a Gylfi Sigurdsson double.

Hungary will host Iceland in their playoff final.

North Macedonia overcame Balkan neighbours Kosovo 2-1 as they aim to qualify for their first major tournament as an independent nation, while Georgia beat Belarus 1-0, courtesy of an early Tornike Okriashvili penalty.

Georgia will welcome North Macedonia in their playoff final.

Norway were locked at 1-1 with Serbia at the end of regular time as were Northern Ireland away to Bosnia, while the score was 0-0 in the Scotland v Israel and Slovakia v Ireland games before extra time.

Euro 2020, originally scheduled for June 12-July 12, was pushed back 12 months because of the novel coronavirus pandemic and is now due to be held from June 11-July 11 next year. (Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic, additional reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Ken Ferris)