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Euro qualifying roundup: Iceland blanks Dutch, Pelle scores in Italy debut

Malta Italy Euro Soccer

Italy’s Graziano Pelle celebrates after scoring during the Euro 2016 qualifying soccer match between Malta and Italy, at the National Stadium Ta’ Qali, in Valletta, Malta, Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)


Teams are beginning to separate themselves from the pack as the third round of group games continued on Monday.

[ RELATED: Saturday and Sunday’s Euro qualifying scores ]

Two Group A nations stayed spotless, while Wales, Italy and Norway had to work a lot harder than anticipated to secure their results. Meanwhile a few European powers squared off with each other.

How’d it all shake out? Read on...


Kazakhstan 2-4 Czech Republic
Perhaps their home soil loss to the USMNT was a bit of a wake-up call, as coach Pavel Vrba and the Czechs are now 3-0 in qualifying after building a three-goal lead on the road before cruising to a 4-2 win. Possession and shots were fairly even, but the hosts won’t take any solace from holding a single point through three matches.

Iceland 2-0 Netherlands
A brace from Swansea City’s Gylfi Sigurdsson helped the darlings of UEFA’s World Cup qualifying cycle stay perfect in group play to join the Czechs at 3-0. A strong Dutch side struggled to find danger in attack and now have just three points from three matches.

Latvia 1-1 Turkey
The Turks first match against lesser group competition was just as uninspiring as losses to the Czechs and Iceland. Turkey had the wealth of chances, but a 47th minute goal gave them an all-too-brief lead. Twenty-year-old Valērijs Šabala leveled things up 7 minutes later.


Wales 2-1 Cyprus
It was trickier than expected, but Wales remains on top of the group after a tight affair against the Cypriots. The Welsh held a two-goal lead after 23 minutes but Vincent Laban narrowed that lead in the 36th minute before a straight red card to Andy King escalated the drama in the 47th minute.

Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-1 Belgium
Roma’s Radja Nanggolan’s 51st minute goal canceled out Edin Dzeko’s opener, as BNH’s international woes continued in a drab home tie that sees them low in the group. Belgium now has four points through two matches and can claim top dog status with a win next month against Wales.

Andorra 1-4 Israel
25-year-old Austria Wien striker Omer Damari netted thrice, not one a penalty, as Israel stayed perfect in group play. Andorra remains at the bottom of the group.


Croatia 6-0 Azerbaijan
Two goals in the 45th minute took a comfortable 2-0 first half lead and made it borderline insurmountable, as Croatia cruised to a win over Berti Vogts’ squad. The massive pulls Croatian over the Italians on goal differential, with a visit to Italy on tap for next month.

Malta 0-1 Italy
Southampton’s Graziano Pelle made his senior Italy debut at age 29, and it took him just 24 minutes to score a goal for his country.

Norway 2-1 Bulgaria
Hoffenheim attacker Tarik Elyounoussi put the hosts in front within 13 minutes of play, and Havard Nielsen broke a 1-1 deadlock with less than 20 minutes to play as Norway boosted its hopes with its second win of group play. Fifteen-year-old Martin Odegaard came on in the 64th minute for the Norwegians.

Follow @nicholasmendola