Portugal now have the sole remaining 100 per cent winning record in any of the eight UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying groups after Friday's games brought first defeats for holders Italy and Croatia and a point that takes Israel closer to the play-offs. uefa.com rounds up all the action.
Two goals in the final four minutes gave the Netherlands a vital win against leaders Romania in Rotterdam. The Dutch join the unbeaten Czech Republic on eleven points, one behind Romania, but the Czechs have two games in hand on the leaders and one on the Netherlands. F.Y.R. Macedonia can move on to ten points win a win in Armenia on Saturday, and then go to the Czech Republic on Tuesday when bottom team Finland welcome the Dutch. The next day Romania play Armenia.
Greece are in second place as Panagiotis Lagos scored the only goal in Turkey, who drop to third on head-to-head record. Both teams are five points behind Denmark and one ahead of Ukraine, who defeated Kazakhstan 2-1. Georgia consolidated fifth place as they triumphed 1-0 in Albania, who now go to the leaders on Tuesday when Kazakhstan hope for a first point at home to Turkey and Ukraine visit Greece.
Portugal survived a late scare to beat Slovakia 2-1 for a sixth win in six fixtures. Russia, now six points behind, can again halve that gap with a home win against Latvia on Saturday but three days later Portugal can restore their advantage with victory in Estonia while Slovakia, currently three points behind Russia, go to bottom team Luxembourg.
Israel led the Republic of Ireland by two goals at the break only for the home team to come back to secure a 2-2 draw. However, if Israel, four points in front of France, win the next game in the pool - their last - on 2 September in Switzerland they will ensure a play-off place. Ireland are six points behind the French and four adrift of Switzerland, who have a game in hand.
Italy won their first five games but today fell 1-0 in Norway, now within five points. Slovenia are up to third, two points behind Norway, after winning 2-1 in Belarus, while Scotland remain bottom after Moldova emerged from Glasgow with a 0-0 draw. Belarus will be back into the top three if they defeat visitors Scotland on Tuesday.
Poland could have moved level on points with second-placed Germany, but although they led 1-0 in Azerbaijan the home side scored their first goal in the group to draw. The next game in the pool is on 16 August, when Germany, three points behind leaders England, go to Poland, just two further points adrift.
Belgium led by one point before today and kept that advantage by the skin of their teeth. Serbia and Montenegro were 1-0 up against the leaders when they had two players sent off and the visitors took full advantage to equalise late on. Spain are now within two points of second as they defeated fourth-placed Lithuania 2-0, while Bosnia-Herzegovina won 4-1 in San Marino. Spain play Bosnia-Herzegovina on Tuesday knowing victory would take them level with Belgium.
Bulgaria doubled their points tally with a 2-1 win against Croatia - who had won all their five previous games. Sweden defeated Malta 6-0 and Hungary won 1-0 in Iceland to both close the gap on Croatia to three points. Iceland can move back to within three points of second place if they defeat Malta on Tuesday.
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