Kosovo closes on shock Euro 2020 place by thrashing Azerbaijan

Heading into the game in Pristina, Kosovo knew that a draw against unbeaten Azerbaijan would be enough to wrap up top spot in Group D3 and boost its Euro qualifying hopes.

Kosovo (above) only claimed its first-ever competitive victory in September by beating the Faroe Islands, but has since won three more times in the Nations League with an incredible turnaround in form.   -  Reuters

Kosovo sealed a Euro 2020 playoff place only two years after becoming a UEFA-recognised national team, as Arber Zeneli scored a hat-trick in a 4-0 Nations League thrashing of Azerbaijan on Tuesday.

Heading into the game in Pristina, Kosovo knew that a draw against unbeaten Azerbaijan would be enough to wrap up top spot in Group D3 and boost its Euro qualifying hopes.

But, it got off to a dream start, with Heerenveen midfielder Zeneli putting it ahead in only the second minute. The 23-year-old scored twice more in the second half, with Dinamo Zagreb defender Amir Rrahmani also finding the net, as Kosovo completed a famous win.

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Kosovo only claimed its first-ever competitive victory in September by beating the Faroe Islands, but has since won three more times in the Nations League with an incredible turnaround in form.

Bernard Challandes' men are now unbeaten in 10 matches in all competitions, winning eight, since November 2017, having previously lost nine straight games.

It will play in the League D play-offs next year, where Georgia, Belarus and Macedonia will be battling it for a ticket to the 2020 European Championship.

Kosovo is an Albanian-majority former province of Serbia that broke away from the then Yugoslav republic in a bloody war in 1998-1999 and declared independence a decade later. Serbia refuses to recognise its former province.

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