Netherlands crash out, Turkey qualify as best third-placed team

The Netherlands failed to qualify for Euro 2016 after they were beaten 3-2 by the Czech Republic while a last-minute Turkey goal secured them a spot in France next summer after they beat Iceland 1-0.

The Netherlands, third at the World Cup last year, could only make next month’s play-offs if Turkey lost at home to Group A leaders Iceland on Tuesday while they beat the second-placed Czech Republic at home in Amsterdam in their final match of Group A. However, they went to the interval two goals down with 35 minutes on the clock after strikes from Pavel Kaderabek and Josef Sural.

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Danny Blind turned to the bench with 39 minutes gone as he brought on Fenerbahce’s Robin van Versie and the home side will have gone to the break with renewed belief after Marek Suchy was sent off three minutes before the interval. Van Persie’s own goal on 66 minutes extinguished any lingering hopes of a dramatic Dutch comeback. However, Blind’s men did manage to cut the arrears, first through Klaas-Jan Huntelaar on 71 minutes and then via Van Persie with seven minutes left.

The Dutch result was rendered academic when Selcuk Inan’s 89th-minute free-kick secured them the win 1-0 against Iceland that confirmed their status as the best third-placed team in qualifying and a spot in France next summer. After Kazakhstan also overcame Latvia 1-0 it meant Turkey had a better record against the other top five teams in their group, compared with Hungary in Group F, who finished their campaign on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Wales finished second in Group B after Belgium beat Israel 3-0 and Chris Coleman’s side won 2-0 against Andorra, with a goals from Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale. Bosnia and Herzegovina ended up third after a 3-2 victory against Cyprus. Italy confirmed top spot in Group H with a 2-1 win over Norway, who dropped to third. Croatia’s 1-0 win over Malta secured them the other automatic qualification spot in the group.

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