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Sabitzer scores from the spot in Baku to send Austria to European Championship

Marcel Sabitzer Austria Marcel Sabitzer - The Canadian Press

BRUSSELS (AP) — Substitute Marcel Sabitzer scored from the penalty spot shortly after entering the game to secure a 1-0 win for Austria at Azerbaijan and send his country to next year's European Championship in a day overshadowed by a deadly shooting in Brussels which saw Belgium's game against Sweden halted at halftime.

“Due to the incidents in Brussels earlier tonight, play is suspended. Our thoughts are with all those affected,” a post from the Belgian national team read on X, formerly known as Twitter.

European soccer governing body UEFA confirmed the Group F match had been called off following consultation with both teams and local police.

The score was 1-1 at the time. Viktor Gyokeres gave Sweden a 15th-minute lead, but Romelu Lukaku had Belgium level just after the half-hour.

Belgium had already qualified for Euro 2024 while Sweden's chances of a top-two place had been ended by Austria's victory earlier.


After losing 3-2 to Belgium in Vienna last week in the fight for Group F supremacy — Austria's only defeat in seven qualifying games so far — Sabitzer and his teammates knew a win in Baku would secure a spot at the tournament hosted by Germany.

With several key players sidelined because of injuries, Austria struggled to create real chances in the first half. It was awarded a penalty just minutes into the second half after a hand ball. Sabitzer was clinical in converting with a strike into the corner in the 48th.

Sabitzer, who plays for Borussia Dortmund, recently returned to competition after recovering from an adductor injury he picked up last month in a Champions League match against PSG.

Austria finished with 10 men after striker Guido Burgstaller was sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow card.

Austria became the seventh team to qualify after Belgium, France, Portugal, Scotland, Spain and Turkey, along with host Germany.


Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice for Portugal in a 5-0 demolition of host Bosnia in Group J.

Bruno Fernandes, Joao Cancelo and Joao Felix also scored with all goals coming in the first half.

Iceland routed Liechtenstein 4-0 and Slovakia won 1-0 at Luxembourg in the same group.

Netherlands came away from Greece with a 1-0 win in Group B to revive its hopes. Virgil Van Dijk’s penalty in second-half stoppage time sent the Netherlands above their opponents and into second in their group. Both have 12 points.

Wout Weghorst earlier failed to convert his penalty.

“We do not have a specialist for penalties, corners and free kicks,” said Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman. “When Virgil was behind the ball for the second one, I suddenly thought ‘Surely it won’t be one of those evenings when this one goes wrong too.’ But Virgil took it well and decided the match.”

Ireland thrashed Gibraltar 4-0 in the group's other game.

France has already qualified from Group B.


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