[QODLink]
Football

Italy and Netherlands through to World Cup

European nations book berths in Brazil finals but others will have to sweat it out in remaining matches.

Last Modified: 11 Sep 2013 03:48
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Buffon equalled the Italian record for most caps [Getty]

Italy and the Netherlands became the first European teams to qualify for next year's World Cup, securing their places in Brazil with matches to spare.

The Azzurri clinched Group B on Tuesday with a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic in Turin, with second-half goals from defender Giorgio Chiellini and striker Mario Balotelli overcoming an early goal by Libor Kozak.

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon made his 136th international appearance, matching Fabio Cannavaro's national record. Italy are four-time world champions and will now take part in their 14th consecutive finals.

Czech Republic coach Michal Bilek resigned after the game. 

The Netherlands secured qualification in Group D with a 2-0 victory against minnows Andorra. Manchester United's Robin van Persie grabbed both goals in the second half.

Germany beat the Faroe Islands 3-0 in Torshavn but still need one more win for automatic qualification in Group C after closest rivals Sweden beat Kazakhstan 1-0 in Astana.

Elsewhere, France kept their qualification campaign alive, coming from behind to beat Belarus 4-2 in group I, but still trail Spain at the top of the group having played a game more.

Group H remained wide open after Ukraine drew with England 0-0 in Kiev. England lead the group but there are only three points between the top four teams in the group.

World record signing Gareth Bale came on as a substiture for Wales but the $120m man was unable to close the gap in Wales' 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Serbia to leave them bottom of Group A.

Northern Ireland meanwhile slipped to a shock 3-2 defeat at lowly Luxembourg in Group F - only the fourth World Cup victory in the tiny nation's history.

277

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
Al Jazeera asked people across Scotland what they think about the prospect of splitting from the United Kingdom.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
join our mailing list