10 talking points from the Euro 2020 Qualifiers
- The statistical highlights of the longest qualifying campaign for the quadrennial tournament.
In the largest qualifying campaign in European Championships history, a record 55 UEFA nations entered the fray to qualify for Euro 2020.
Divided into five groups of five teams or five groups of six teams each, every group-winner and runner-up is guaranteed a place in the quadrennial tournament next summer. A further four places at Euro 2020 would be taken by the selected teams from the inaugural UEFA Nations League, who would contest the play-offs in March next year.
Following the 10th and final day of qualifying action, 20 teams, including defending champions Portugal, booked their places at Euro 2020. Let us find out the 10 key talking points from the 2020 Euro qualifiers.
# 1: Finland becomes the 34th different nation to qualify for the Euros
A 3-0 home win over Liechtenstein on matchday nine confirmed Finland's debut appearance at the Euros next summer.
It would also be the Nordic nation's first appearance at any major tournament after confirming their runner-up finish behind group-winners Italy with a game to spare.
Needing a win over their matchday nine visitors, without worrying about results elsewhere in the group, Jasse Tuominen opened the scoring for the hosts midway through the first half. Liechtenstein threatened an equaliser with sporadic bursts forward, but striker Teemu Pukki calmed frayed nerves with a 64th-minute penalty before another goal in the 75th minute stamped Finland's victory and confirmed their appearance at Euro 2020.
# 2: Cristiano Ronaldo becomes the all-time top scorer in Euro qualifying history
The all-time record goal scorer for Portugal became the most prolific scorer in Euro qualifying history when he scored his 3rd goal in a 4-goal haul in a 5-1 away win in Liechtenstein on matchday 6 which drew a standing ovation from the home faithful.
In the process, Cristiano Ronaldo moved past erstwhile top-scorer Robbie Keane (23 goals) of Ireland.
Ronaldo has scored in 6 consecutive Euro qualifying games, with his latest goal in a 2-0 away win in Luxembourg taking his international goal tally for Portugal to 99, and confirming the defending champions' appearance at Euro 2020.