Netherlands crash out of Euro 2016 as Turkey and Croatia qualify

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Netherland players react after conceding a goal
Georginio Wijnaldum (8) of the Netherlands reacts during the match against Czech Republic during their Euro 2016 group A qualifying soccer match in Amsterdam, Netherlands October 13, 2015. REUTERS/Toussaint Kluiters/United Photos

Netherlands, who had finished third in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, crashed out of the Euro 2016 qualifying on Tuesday night after losing 3-2 to the Czech Republic.

The Dutch entered Tuesday’s game in a must-win situation, and even then, needed Turkey to lose to Iceland in other game of the group. But the hosts crumbled under pressure, going two down in the first thirty minutes giving up goals to Pavel Kaderabek and Josef Sural. The Czechs went down a man near the end of the half when Marek Suchy was sent off, but the home team still couldn’t capitalize. Instead, struggling Robin van Persie, who had only come on as a substitute, made it 3-0 for the visitors after heading into his own net.

The striker, along with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, scored in the second half, but they proved to be mere consolation goals as the team failed to qualify for next Euros. They won only four games, drew one and lost five games in their 10 games in qualifying.

A win for Netherlands would not have mattered anyways, as Turkey beat Iceland, who had already qualified for next year’s main event. Selcuk Inan scored off a free kick late in the 89th minute to snatch victory for the Turks, who will feature next year at the Euros as the best third-placed team.

Croatia, meanwhile, beat Malta 1-0 to finish as runners-up in Group H, with Ivan Perisic scoring in the 25th minute to see the team through. The team were deducted a point for a racist incident at their home game against Italy in June.

They were helped in their automatic qualification by Norway, who gave up a 1-0 lead in the second half to lose to Italy.  Italy made a strong comeback after Alexander Tettey gave Norway the lead in the 23rd minute, scoring through Alessandro Florenzi in the 73rd minute and Graziano Pelle in the 82 minute. Italy topped the group while Norway dropped down into the play-off spot.

In the other games of the day, Bosnia-Herzegovina clinched a play-off spot with a 3-2 win over Cyprus in Group B, while Belgium beat Israel 3-1. Wales, already qualified, beat Andorra 2-0 while Bulgaria defeated Azerbaijan 2-0 in a group H dead rubber.

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