Two years after being recognized by UEFA, Kosovo has given itself a chance to make it to the 2020 European Championship.

The small Balkan republic routed Azerbaijan 4-0 in Pristina on Tuesday to cap an impressive campaign in the inaugural UEFA Nations League and secure at least a playoff spot in qualifying for Euro 2020.

Poland's Arkadiusz Milik, 2nd left, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Portugal and Poland at the D. Afonso Henriques stadium in Guimaraes, Portugal, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Araujo)
Poland’s Arkadiusz Milik, 2nd left, celebrates after scoring his side’s first goal during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Portugal and Poland at the D. Afonso Henriques stadium in Guimaraes, Portugal, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Araujo)

The triumph comes only two months after Kosovo defeated the Faeroe Islands 2-0 for its first competitive win since being admitted to UEFA and FIFA events in 2016.

Scotland's Steven Fletcher, left, and Israel's Taleb Twatha challenge for the ball during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Scotland and Israel at Hampden Park, in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Scotland’s Steven Fletcher, left, and Israel’s Taleb Twatha challenge for the ball during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Scotland and Israel at Hampden Park, in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

After winning two other matches in the lower-tiered League D, Kosovo entered the final round in Group 3 needing at least a draw to finish in first place and guarantee the playoff berth.

Scotland's David Bates, atop, and Israel's Eli Dasa challenge for the ball during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Scotland and Israel at Hampden Park, in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Scotland’s David Bates, atop, and Israel’s Eli Dasa challenge for the ball during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Scotland and Israel at Hampden Park, in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

Arber Zeneli scored a hat trick and Amir Rrahmani added another goal to keep Kosovo unbeaten and at the top of its group. It finished with 14 points from six matches, five points in front of second-place Azerbaijan.

Lithuania's Justinas Janusevskis reacts during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Serbia and Lithuania at Partizan stadium in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Lithuania’s Justinas Janusevskis reacts during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Serbia and Lithuania at Partizan stadium in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Playing in the playoffs could give Kosovo a shortcut to Euro 2020 as it is unlikely to qualify directly from its group. It ended last in its European qualifying group for the 2018 World Cup.

Israel's Sheran Yeini, left, and Scotland's Ryan Fraser challenge for the ball during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Scotland and Israel at Hampden Park, in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Israel’s Sheran Yeini, left, and Scotland’s Ryan Fraser challenge for the ball during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Scotland and Israel at Hampden Park, in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

Making it to Euro 2020 would be a huge sporting success for the country, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008. The competition will be played in cities across Europe, including in some countries which still don’t recognize Kosovo’s independence.

Scotland's James Forrest reacts to heavy rain during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Scotland and Israel at Hampden Park, in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Scotland’s James Forrest reacts to heavy rain during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Scotland and Israel at Hampden Park, in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

In the top-tier League A, Final Four host Portugal ended the group stage with a 1-1 home draw against relegated Poland, while Sweden gained promotion from League B by defeating visiting Russia 2-0. Scotland moved up from League C by defeating Israel at home, as did Serbia after a 4-1 win over relegated Lithuania.

Israel's goalkeeper Ariel Harush reacts at the end of the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Scotland and Israel at Hampden Park, in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Israel’s goalkeeper Ariel Harush reacts at the end of the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Scotland and Israel at Hampden Park, in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

All group winners in the four leagues are guaranteed a place in the playoffs for Euro 2020.

Israel's Omri Ben Harush reacts at the end of the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Scotland and Israel at Hampden Park, in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Israel’s Omri Ben Harush reacts at the end of the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Scotland and Israel at Hampden Park, in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

England, Switzerland and the Netherlands will join Italy in the Final Four in June.

Portugal players applaud the supporters at the end of the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Portugal and Poland at the D. Afonso Henriques stadium in Guimaraes, Portugal, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Araujo)
Portugal players applaud the supporters at the end of the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Portugal and Poland at the D. Afonso Henriques stadium in Guimaraes, Portugal, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Araujo)

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Serbia's Aleksandar Prijovic celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's third goal during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Serbia and Lithuania at Partizan stadium in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Serbia’s Aleksandar Prijovic celebrates with teammates after scoring his side’s third goal during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Serbia and Lithuania at Partizan stadium in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Source: The Associated Press

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