ISTANBUL: Holland, third at the World Cup last year, are in danger of missing out on the Euro 2016 finals in France next year.
The Dutchmen’s depressing qualifying campaign veered from bad to wose as they lose 3-0 in Konyan to Turkey who overtook them to size the third, play-off place in Group A.
Barcelona’s Arda set up the first goal for Turkey who had to win to retain hope of qualifying. Ironically the assist was converted by Oguzhan Ozyakup, a former Holland youth international.
Arda then scored a second himself before half-time with Burak Yilmaz claiming a killing third five minutes from time.
The Turks’ triumph also helped fire the Czech Republic into the finals. In Riga David Limbersky and Vladimir Darida picked the perfect occasion to score their first international goals to secure a 2-1 win over hosts Latvia.
The Czechs, with two matches to spare, cannot be caught by either third-placed Turkey or Holland.
Pride of place on the night, however, went to Iceland who qualified for a major finals for the first time in their history after a goalless draw against Kazakhstan.
In Group B Wales are still waiting to be sure of their first appearance in a major finals since the 1958 World Cup.
Victory over Israel in Cardiff would have done the trick but, despite dominating, they were held goalless by stubborn opponents who showed no attacking intent.
Wales were left waiting because Belgium won 1-0 in Cyprus with an 85th-minute goal from Eden Hazard. Chris Coleman’s men must wait until October’s closing double-header away to Bosnia-Herzegovina and hoe to minnows Andorra.
In Group H two goals from Jo Inge Berget lifted Norway top of the table with a 2-0 home win over Croatia. The former Celtic man scored on 51 minutes and then prodded home off Croat defender Vedran Corluka.
In the late match Italy beat Bulgaria 1-0 with a fifth-miute penaty from Daniele De Rossi who later spoiled his night on being sent off 10 minutes into the second half along with Blgaria’s Ilian Micanski.
Also in Group H Azerbaijan’s two-goal Rahid Amirguliev struck an 80th-minute equaliser to deny Malta their first victory in Ta’ Quali.
The 26-year-old midfielder put the visitors ahead in the 36th minute, but the home side, who had failed to score in their previous five competitive games, hit back in the second half.
Michael Mifsud equalised 10 minutes after the re-start before Alfred Effiong put Malta ahead in the 71st minute.
Amirguliev halted the home celebrations when he scored 10 minutes from time to earn his team a point.
The outcome left Azerbaijan fifth in the standings with six points from eight games, while Malta are bottom with just two points to their name.