Iceland beat 10-man Netherlands 1-0 on Thursday to take a big step toward qualifying for next year’s European Championship, while the Dutch qualifying campaign continued to flounder.
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s second-half penalty proved the difference in Eindhoven to hand new Oranje coach Danny Blind a dismal debut.
Sigurdsson put the visitors ahead six minutes into the second half after Gregory van der Wiel had brought down Brikir Bjarnason in the area.
The Dutch had suffered an early setback when in the 33rd minute defender Bruno Martins Indi was shown a straight red card for making a striking movement with his arm as he tumbled to the ground in a tackle with Kolbeinn Sigthhorsson.
Arjen Robben’s first match as Netherlands captain lasted less than a half-hour before he left the pitch injured and was replaced by Luciano Narsingh.
Third-placed Netherlands are now six points adrift of the automatic qualifying places with just three matches to go. A third-place finish would allow them to reach a final playoff round.
Gareth Bale’s late header put Wales within tantalising reach of qualifying for Euro 2016 with a 1-0 win at Cyprus.
Bale settled a scrappy game against Cyprus in Nicosia when he met Jazz Richards’ cross eight minutes from time — his sixth goal of a campaign which leaves unbeaten Wales with 17 points from seven games.
Wales will clinch a spot in France next summer, their first major tournament since the 1958 World Cup, if they beat Israel in Cardiff on Sunday.
Belgium remained second in Group B after a fine Kevin De Bruyne performance helped them come from behind to defeat Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-1 in Brussels.
The hosts were a goal down on the quarter-hour mark when Edin Dzeko headed in, but Marouane Fellaini levelled things eight minutes later in similar fashion, converting from De Bruyne’s corner.
Manchester City’s new record signing then fired home sweetly from outside the box to make it 2-1 a minute before the break.
And an Eden Hazard penalty in the 78th minute wrapped up the three points for the Belgians, who stayed three behind leaders Wales and two clear of third-placed Israel with three group games remaining for each.
Israel kept alive their hopes of a top-two finish with a comfortable 4-0 victory over rock-bottom Andorra in Haifa.
All four goals were scored in the opening 38 minutes. Eran Zahavi struck the opener after just three minutes, with Nir Bitton making it 2-0 with a 22nd-minute header. Tomer Hemed added a third from the penalty spot four minutes later before Munas Dabbur completed the scoring.
Italy moved to the top of Group H thanks to a 1-0 victory over Malta in Florence.
A goal from Southampton forward Graziano Pelle midway through the second half was enough for Antonio Conte’s men to move above Croatia at the top of their pool.
It appeared that Pelle used his shoulder or arm to redirect in a cross from Antonio Candreva in the 69th minute of a match that Italy dominated. But it wasn’t clear if the goal should have been disallowed.
Earlier in Group H, Croatia were held to a 0-0 draw at Azerebaijan.
Much of the time Croatia were left to rue their own poor finishing — the case as early as the second minute, when Mario Mandzukic dragged a shot across goal and wide when he really should have scored.
Norway won 1-0 at Bulgaria on Vegard Forren’s 57th-minute volley, his first international goal.
In the Netherlands’ Group A, the Czech Republic came from behind to beat Kazakhstan 2-1.
A brace from substitute Milan Skoda saw the Czechs rally in Plzen. The visitors, bottom of the pool, took a shock lead in the 21st minute when Yuri Logvinenko powered in a header.
They did an admirable job of hanging on thereafter until Skoda, on since half-time, intervened to turn an embarrassing situation into three vital points for his side.
The striker equalised with a header in the 74th minute, then notched another with four minutes left to keep the second-placed Czechs two points behind leaders Iceland.
Also in Group A, Valerijs Sabala struck a last-gasp equaliser to earn Latvia a 1-1 draw at Turkey.
The hosts were the better side and took a deserved lead in the 77th minute when Selcuk Inan struck a dipping shot from 20 yards to beat Latvia goalkeeper Andris Vanins.
However, Fatih Terim’s men could not hold on to the lead and Latvia pulled level in injury time as Sabala struck a 20-yard effort past helpless goalkeeper Volkan Babacan to silence the crowd.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.