Holland failed to reach a major finals for the first time since 2002 after their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign ended with a 3-2 defeat to Group A winners Czech Republic at the Amsterdam Arena last night.
Former Arsenal and Manchester United forward Robin van Persie scored an own goal to hand the Czechs a three-goal advantage after first-half strikes from Pavel Kaderabek and Josef Sural, despite Marek Suchy seeing red.
FC Schalke’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Van Persie netted to give the Dutch a momentary glimmer, although events in Istanbul stamped out any hopes the Netherlands, who finished third at the 2014 World Cup, may have harboured.
Holland needed to win and bank on already-qualified Iceland winning in Turkey in order to qualify, but as it was a free-kick from Selcuk Inan gave Fatih Terim’s side a 1-0 win. Turkey have qualified for next summer’s finals as the highest ranked third-placed team.
Croatia also reached the finals by virtue of a 1-0 victory over Malta, coupled with Italy’s come-from-behind win against Norway, who had to settle for a play-off spot, at the Stadio Olimpico.
Norway appeared on course for automatic qualification after a first-half opener from Norwich midfielder Alexander Tettey, only for Alessandro Florenzi and Southampton’s Graziano Pelle to rain on their parade.
Euro 2016-bound Wales concluded their qualifying campaign with a scruffy 2-0 win over part-timers Andorra at the Cardiff City Stadium, finishing runners-up in Group B behind Belgium who dispatched Israel 3-1.
Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey opened the scoring from close range five minutes into the second half before Gareth Bale netted his seventh goal of qualifying to settle matters late on.
EURO 2016 FINALS: WHO IS GOING TO BE THERE?
Twenty-four teams will compete in next summer’s Euro 2016 finals. France were assured a place as hosts, while 19 sides have since qualified automatically – 18 by virtue of finishing first or second in their group and one as the highest third-placed team. Those nations are: Iceland, Czech Republic, Belgium, Wales, Spain, Slovakia, Germany, Poland, England, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Romania, Austria, Russia, Italy, Croatia Portugal and Albania. Turkey were the best third-placed side in qualifying.
There will now be four play-off ties to determine the final four teams to qualify for the tournament finals. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Hungary, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden and Ukraine will contest the play-offs. The draw for the play-offs will be made on Sunday. First-leg ties will take place between 12 and 14 November, with the second legs following immediately between 15 and 17 November. The draw for the tournament proper is on 12 December in Paris.