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Saturday, April 04, 2020

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Dutch on brink of elimination, Czechs qualify
Reuters
 Turkey dealt a hammer blow to already faint Dutch chances of qualifying for Euro 2016 with a 3-0 home victory Sunday which left the Netherlands in fourth place in Group A. First-half goals by Oguzhan Ozyakup and Arda Turan put the hosts in charge and an 85th minute effort by Burak Yilmaz sealed the points for Turkey who boosted their own hopes by moving two points above the Dutch into third spot.
 
Last week’s shock loss at home to Iceland had already left the Netherlands in real danger of missing their first European Championship for three decades, but if manager Danny Blind was hoping for an immediate response from his players he would have been disappointed.
 
It was another desperately labored performance and they rarely looked like dragging themselves themselves back into the game after falling behind.
 
With the Czech Republic winning, the Netherlands can no longer finish in the top 2 and will have to win both of their last two games to have any chance of a playoff spot.
 
Turkey were quickly into their stride in the central Anatolian city of Konya and were ahead after eight minutes when Ozyakup latched on to a through ball from Turan and neatly lifted it over Jasper Cillessen.
 
Things went from bad to worse for the Dutch, playing all in white, when sluggish defending allowed Turan in to sweep home a shot Cillessen should have stopped to send the crowd, including Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, into raptures.
 
Only the lively Memphis Depay looked threatening for a pedestrian Dutch side and Turkey, content to spend most of the second half sitting back, continued to pose a danger on the break.
 
The visitors huffed and puffed, forcing a couple of routine saves from Turkish keeper Volkan Babacan, but in the end it was more abject defending that allowed Turkey to heap on the humiliation, Yilmaz turning sharply to fire home and seal a first win over the Dutch since 1997.
 
The Czech Republic qualified for Euro 2016 as one of the top 2 teams from Group A after holding off a late fightback to beat hosts Latvia 2-1. David Limbersky and Vladmir Darida scored the first-half goals to lift the Czechs to 19 points, out of the reach of third placed Turkey (12 points) and Netherlands (10) with two matches to play next month.
 
The Czechs finished nervously as they dealt with a late rally from Latvia, who pulled a goal back through Arturs Zjurzins with 17 minutes left and then gallantly tried without success to find an equalizer.
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