Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 11th 2015 Contents A50
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt October 11, 2015
Rarely has a loss felt this good.
Despite a 2-0 defeat against Bosnia-Herze-
govina, Wales reached its first international
tournament since 1958 on Saturday thanks
to Cyprus beating Israel 2-1 in European
Belgium also qualified from Group B by
beating Andorra 4-1, the country s first Euros
since co-hosting the tournament in 2000.
The wait had been much longer for Wales,
and both teams were celebrating on the pitch
in Bosnia when news came through that
Israel had lost.
"We didn t know what the other result
was but now we do and wow, I can t explain
how it feels," Wales manager Chris Coleman
said. "We got a bit flustered in the second
half but in the circumstances, you can under-
Wales last played in a major tournament
at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, meaning
previous Wales internationals like Manchester
United s Ryan Giggs and Liverpool s Ian Rush
never had a chance to compete at the most
prestigious level of international football.
But Coleman s side is much more rounded
than the teams Giggs and Rush played in.
Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale and
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey are the
key players, but others like Liverpool mid-
fielder Joe Allen and Swansea defender Ashley
Williams have been essential in qualifying
for next year s competition in France with
a game to spare.
"Growing up as young boy, everyone
dreams of playing in a major tournament,"
Bale said. "To achieve it here is a dream
come true but it doesn t stop here.
"If we lose the ball we will fight for our
teammate. We are like brothers on the pitch
and that shows the togetherness in the squad.
We have all fought deep and hard all qual-
ification and this is what happens when you
Bosnia, meanwhile, kept its hopes alive
of reaching a playoff with the win. Milan
Djuric sent a looping header over Wales
goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey in the 71st
minute and the host doubled its lead in the
last minute through Vedad Ibisevic.
But Wales qualification was already
assured in Jerusalem, where Cyprus took all
three points thanks to an 80th-minute goal
from Jason Demetriou.
Cyprus had taken the lead with a header
from Junior Dossa on 58, before Nir Bitton
pulled a goal back on 76, but the teams were
only level for four minutes.
Wales is now second in Group B on 18
points, two behind Belgium. Wales hosts
Andorra in Cardiff on Tuesday, while Belgium
is at home to Israel.
For Belgium, qualifying was more rou-
Radja Nainggolan, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden
Hazard and Laurent Depoitre all scored for
Marc Wilmots side, which was in control
throughout the encounter, despite Andorra
reducing the score to 2-1 with a penalty
from Lima Sola.
The Netherlands kept alive its hopes of
qualifying by beating Kazakhstan 2-1.
But Turkey went back into pole position
to take third place in the group and at least
a playoff berth by beating the already-qual-
ified Czech Republic 2-0.
Midfielders Georginio Wijnaldum and
Wesley Sneijder scored in either half for the
Netherlands to ensure the fight for third
goes down to the final round of qualifiers
on Tuesday. Islambek Kuat scored a con-
solation goal with the last touch of the match.
Already-qualified Iceland squandered a
two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Latvia.
The Netherlands went third ahead of the
late match in Prague and Iceland s draw put
it top, one point ahead of the Czechs. But
they didn t stay there long.
Turkey pushed the Dutch back to fourth
thanks to a 62nd-minute Selcuk Inan penalty
and a Hakan Calhanoglu strike with 10 min-
utes left to play against the Czech Repub-
lic.Iceland leads with 20 points, one ahead
of the Czechs. Turkey is third with 15 points,
followed by the Dutch with 13.
Belgium qualified by beating Andorra 4-
1, the country s first Euros since co-hosting
the tournament in 2000. The wait had been
even longer for Wales, and both teams were
celebrating on the pitch in Bosnia when
news came through that Israel had lost.
Bosnia kept its hopes alive of reaching a
playoff with the win. Milan Djuric sent a
looping header over Wales goalkeeper Wayne
Hennessey in the 71st and the host doubled
its lead in the last minute through Vedad
For Belgium, Radja Nainggolan, Kevin De
Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Laurent Depoitre
'Best loss of my life':
Wales and Bale qualify
for Euro 2016
Italy's players celebrate after scoring a third goal during the Euro 2016 group H qualifying football match against Azerbaijan at the
Olympic stadium in Baku, Azerbaijan, yesterday. Italy won 3-1. AP PHOTO
MADRID---Striker Alvaro Morata and midfielder
David Silva will miss Spain's final European
Championship qualifier because of injuries.
The players were injured in Friday's 4-0 win
over Luxembourg and will not travel with the rest
of the squad to Kiev for tomorrow's game at
Spain secured its spot at Euro 2016 with
Friday's home win.
Silva had to be substituted after only 10
minutes with an ankle injury and Morata had to
leave on a stretcher before halftime because of a
right leg problem.
Spanish media said the players are expected to
be sidelined for about a month. (AP)
Spain to be without
Benzema out for
Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema is
expected to be sidelined for three weeks after
tests yesterday revealed the France forward has
suffered a muscle injury to his left leg
Benzema was injured during Les Bleus' 4-0
friendly win over Armenia in Nice on Thursday
and returned to Spain to undergo further
A statement from Real read: "Following tests
carried out today on Karim Benzema by Real
Madrid's medical services, a muscle injury in the
biceps femoris in his left leg has been confirmed.
"His recovery will continue to be assessed."
Benzema is now expected to miss La Liga
games against Levante, Celta Vigo and Las
Palmas as well as the Champions League double-
header against Paris St Germain.
His injury is a blow for Real Madrid coach Rafa
Benzema, who scored twice in the win over
Armenia to end a one-year goal drought with
France, had been in sizzling form for Los Blancos.
The 27-year-old is the leading scorer in La Liga
and has scored seven goals in eight appearances
in all competitions for Real this season.
Cyprus took all three points thanks to an 80th
minute goal from Jason Demetriou. Cyprus had taken
the lead with a header from Junior Dossa in the 58th,
before Nir Bitton equalized in the 76th.
Belgium leads with 20 points, two ahead of Belgium.
Bosnia is third with 14 points, one ahead of Israel
and two in front of Cyprus.
Wales is now second with 18 points.
Stephan El Shaarawy ended a three-year drought
by scoring the winning goal as Italy beat Azerbaijan
After Eder s opener and an equaliser from Dmitri
Nazarov, El Shaarawy finished off a counterattack in
the 43rd for his first national team goal since November
Manchester United s Matteo Darmian added another
for Italy in the second half.
"Now that we ve qualified it might have seemed
easy but nothing is easy," said Italy coach Antonio
Conte, who took over when Cesare Prandelli resigned
after the Azzurri s first-round elimination from last
year s World Cup.
Norway took a big step toward qualifying with a
2-0 win over Malta. Alexander Tettey and Alexander
Soderlund scored either side of halftime in Oslo.
Croatia beat Bulgaria 3-0 with goals from Ivan
Perisic, Ivan Rakitic and Nikola Kalinic. The match
was played in an empty stadium in Zagreb as part
of the punishment for a swastika that was painted
on the pitch before a match against Italy in June.
Italy has 21 points, Norway is next with 19 and
Croatia is third with 17. (AP)
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