The Netherlands’ World Cup hangover continues to linger and they remain off the pace in their bid to qualify for Euro 2016, after a 2-0 loss in Iceland.
Iceland — inspired by a Gylfi Sigurdsson brace — have nine points from nine in Group A and sit alongside the Czech Republic, who also have a 100% record after a 4-2 win away to Kazakhstan last night. Guus Hiddink’s Dutch have three points, with their first ever loss to Iceland arriving after an opening defeat to the Czechs.
The expanded version of the next Championships mean they remain alive in their bid to qualify, but their form — on the back of a World Cup semi-final — suggests they have a job on their hands to make up the gap.
In the night’s other Group A game, Turkey drew 1-1 away to Latvia.
Meanwhile, 10-man Wales survived a red card two minutes into the second half to record a precious victory over Cyprus in Cardiff. Midfielder Andy King was given a straight red for a reckless tackle on Cyprus captain Constantinos Makridis but Wales clung on to a 2-1 lead to stay top of Group B.
Substitute David Cotterill and Hal Robson-Kanu had fired Wales into a two-goal lead inside 23 minutes before Vincent Laban pulled one back for Cyprus before half-time.
Israel maintained their 100% start with a 4-1 victory over Andorra. Omer Damari was the hero, the Austria Vienna striker scoring twice in the first half and then completing his hat-trick eight minutes from time before Tomer Hemed netted a stoppage-time penalty.
Bosnia remain winless in Group B following a 1-1 draw at home to Belgium. The hosts took the lead in the 28th minute through Edin Dzeko but an uncharacteristic mistake from keeper Asmir Begovic in the 51st minute allowed Radja Nainggolan to equalise.
In Group H, Graziano Pelle marked his Italy debut with a goal as Antonio Conte’s side defeated Malta 1-0.
Pelle reacted the quickest in a goalmouth scramble to turn in the loose ball and set Italy on their way to a victory which put them level on points with Croatia at the top of the group.
Ivan Perisic scored a first-half brace as Croatia made it three wins out of three as they claimed a 6-0 victory over Azerbaijan in their Euro 2016 qualifying match at Gradski vrt.
Andrej Kramaric opened the scoring before substitute Perisic headed home his double and Marcelo Brozovic made it 4-0 at the break. Luka Modric powered home a 56th-minute penalty and an own goal from Rashad Farhad Sadygov made it six in Osijek.
Norway — who handed Martin Odegaard his debut as a substitute at just 15 years, 300 days — claimed their second win in four days as they recorded a 2-1 victory over Bulgaria.
Tarik Elyounoussi struck early on for the home side but Nikolay Bodurov levelled at the break before Havard Nielsen’s strike with 20 minutes to go sealed a home win in Olso.
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