The Czech Republic and Iceland secured qualification for the Euro 2016 finals after wins for both sides saw them open up an unassailable lead at the top of Group A.
Iceland ground out a 0-0 draw with Kazakhstan to ensure their passage to France, while first-half goals from David Limbersky and Vladimir Darida were enough to give the Czech prompt celebrations amongst the travelling support in Latvia.
That leaves Netherlands struggling even for a play-off berth after Danny Blind’s side were beaten 3-0 in Turkey to sit fourth, two points behind their conquerors.
The party remains on hold for Wales following 0-0 home draw with Israel, when a win would have sent them through to their first major tournament finals since 1958.
Wales might have still progressed had Belgium failed to beat Cyprus, but an Eden Hazard winner spared the blushes of his side, who were disappointing throughout a tepid match on a hot evening in Nicosia.
Meanwhile, Bosnia-Herzegovina can still qualify from Group B via the play-offs after they ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over Andorra, with goals from Ermin Bicakcic, Edin Dzeko and Senad Lulic, but they will need Israel to slip up if they are to sneak into third place in the group.
Elsewhere, Norway moved into second place in Group H after a 2-0 win over Croatia, courtesy of a goal from Jo Inge Berget and a second struck by the same player that took a wicked deflection off Vedran Corluka on its way into the net.
Group H’s bottom side Malta were denied their first win of the qualifying campaign as they drew 2-2 with Azerbaijan. Rahid Amirguliyev opened the scoring for the visitors, before Michael Mifsud’s 40th international goal drew Malta level.
Alfred Effiong looked to have given the hosts a rare win, before Amirguliyev struck again to level the match.
Italy are still top of Group H after they ended Bulgaria’s qualification hopes with a 1-0 win. Daniele De Rossi scored and was sent off for Antonio Conte’s men and Bulgaria forward Ilian Mitsanski also saw red in a bad tempered clash in Palermo.
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