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Euro 2016 Qualifiers Review: Bale edges Wales closer, Iceland dent Netherlands´ qualification hopes

Gareth Bale’s late header took Wales to within one win of UEFA Euro 2016 qualification as Chris Coleman’s side saw off Cyprus 1-0 in Nicosia.

Wales were frustrated throughout by resolute defending but Bale was on hand to head home the 82nd-minute winner on Thursday – moving Chris Colemen’s men closer to their first major tournament since 1958.

Bale’s header – a sublime effort from Jazz Richards’ superb delivery – was the Real Madrid star’s sixth goal in seven matches in qualifying as Wales stayed three points clear of Belgium in Group B.

Manchester City’s latest big-money signing Kevin De Bruyne impressed for Belgium, who came from behind to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 3-1.

After Marouane Fellaini had cancelled out Edin Dzeko’s early opener, De Bruyne gave Belgium the lead on the stroke of half-time with a superb strike, and Eden Hazard added a third from the spot late on.

Israel – third in the standings – kept up the pressure on Belgium courtesy of a 4-0 rout against lowly Andorra.

Gylfi Sigurdsson’s second-half penalty maintained Iceland’s position atop Group A as they triumphed 1-0 over 10-man Netherlands in Amsterdam.

Netherlands were dealt a blow midway through the first half when newly-appointed skipper Arjen Robben limped off through injury, before Bruno Martins-Indi saw red for an off-the ball incident.

And Danny Blind’s forgettable debut as Netherlands boss was compounded after the restart, Gregory van der Wiel bringing down Birkir Bjarnason – with Sigurdsson stepping up to convert the resulting spot-kick.

Turkey’s slim hopes of securing an automatic promotion place from Group A are all but over after they conceded in stoppage time to draw 1-1 at home to Latvia.

Second-placed Czech Republic clinched a 2-1 win over Kazakhstan thanks to a late brace from substitute Milan Skoda.

Italy are level with Group H leaders Croatia after overcoming minnows Malta 1-0.

Graziano Pelle’s second-half goal was enough for the Italians to improve to 15 points, the same amount as Croatia, who were held to a goalless draw by Azerbaijan.

Elsewhere in that group, Norway won 1-0 in Bulgaria.

Thu 3 Sep, 2015
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