Qualifiers: Dutch and Italy draw, Wales win

Sport360 staff 07:17 29/03/2015
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Rescue act: Sneijder (r) celebrates.

The Netherlands continued to struggle in their European Championship qualifying campaign as they were held to a 1-1 draw by lively Turkey at the Amsterdam ArenA last night.

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Burak Yilmaz fired Turkey into the lead thanks to a deflection in the 37th minute and Holland had to wait until second-half stoppage time for Wesley Sneijder to score the equaliser which saw them narrowly avoid their third defeat in Group A.

The result left them six points adrift of leaders Czech Republic and one point ahead of Turkey in third place, five behind Iceland who defeated bottom side Kazakhstan 3-0 earlier in the day.

Manager Guus Hiddink has already offered his resignation once in recent times and this drab performance will have done little to convince anyone that he has the World Cup semi-finalists back on track. 

Eder marked his Italy debut in style with a brilliant equaliser as they kept their Euro 2016 qualifying run going in Bulgaria.

The Azzurri had not lost in 44 qualifying fixtures going into this clash – a run dating back to 2006 – but that was seriously under threat as they trailed 2-1 with eight minutes left.

Eder celebrates his first international goal for Italy.

But Sampdoria’s Brazil-born striker had other ideas and curled in an equaliser from the edge of the box to secure a 2-2 draw.

It had looked as though new Bulgaria coach Ivaylo Petev was going to start his reign with a win, with Ivelin Popov and Iliyan Mitsanski having washed out Iordan Minev’s early own goal.

Elsewhere in the group, Croatia strengthened their position at the top with a thumping 5-1 win over Norway thanks to goals from Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Perisic, Ivica Olic, Gordon Schildenfeld and Danijel Pranjic, while they lost Vedran Corluka to a red card midway through the second half.

In Group B, a Marouane Fellaini brace and further strikes from Christian Benteke, Eden Hazard and Michy Batshuayi earned Belgium a 5-0 victory over Cyprus.

Fellaini and Benteke struck in the first half to give Belgium a 2-0 lead before the break, before Fellaini, Hazard and Batshuayi netted in the second to complete a commanding victory for Marc Wilmots’ side.

The Belgians, though, lie third in the pool with unbeaten Wales currently three points ahead having played a game more.

Chris Coleman’s side secured a 3-0 away win over Israel on Saturday night thanks to goals from Aaron Ramsay and a Gareth Bale brace, with the Real Madrid star curling home an exquisite free-kick in the second half.

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