What to watch out for in Friday's EURO qualifiers

Friday's action sees three first-v-second showdowns, a landmark for Gareth Bale and do-or-die games for the Netherlands, Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Group A
Burak the man to watch for Turkey
Burak Yılmaz is a form player, alternating between scoring sprees and not particularly long periods of drought. The bad news for Kazakhstan, then, is that Burak has hit five in his last two outings, including a hat-trick to inspire Galatasaray AŞ to a 3-2 Turkish Cup final triumph. He was also Kazakhstan's scourge in November as Turkey claimed what remains their sole win of Group A. Only a second victory will do in Almaty and, more so, with ground to make up Fatih Terim's men need to make a statement.
Kazakhstan v Turkey – 18.00CET

Iceland and Czechs can take giant leap
Not many would have earmarked this as a meeting of the runaway top two in Group A at the beginning of the campaign but with the Netherlands and Turkey stumbling they have made the running. Victory for either side would be a huge boost to their UEFA EURO 2016 ambitions. It is a big day for them and also for visiting captain Tomáš Rosický, who is set to become only the third Czech player to win 100 caps.
Iceland v Czech Republic – 20.45CET

Do or die for the Netherlands
It is now or never for the Oranje. Lose and they could be six points adrift of the top two; win and the gap could be down to two. Guus Hiddink's side overwhelmed Latvia 6-0 in November's corresponding fixture, and beat Spain in March, but they remain dogged by inconsistency. Last Friday they let a 3-1 lead slip against the United States, losing 4-3. Latvia have held Czech Republic and Ukraine in their last two games so the Netherlands' first three away points of Group A is no certainty.
Latvia v Netherlands – 20.45CET

Highlights: Cyprus v Andorra
Highlights: Cyprus v Andorra

Group B
Can Andorra break their duck?
Andorra, the tiny landlocked nation in the Pyrenees, have played 45 UEFA European Championship qualifiers since making their senior international bow in 1996 – they have lost them all. Gareth Bale's late goal denied them a historic first point on the opening day, and a home game against a Cyprus side ranked fifth in the section perhaps represents their best hope of getting off the mark this campaign. Not out of the running for a qualifying spot, Cyprus will have other ideas.
Andorra v Cyprus – 20.45CET

Highlights: Israel v Bosnia and Herzegovina
Highlights: Israel v Bosnia and Herzegovina

Israel seek Bosnian repeat
"If we are stressed and say 'there is no way back from losing this game' it can only hurt us," said Israel's Bebras Natcho. It is a far cry from the mood after November's 3-0 home win against Bosnia and Herzegovina, when coach Eli Guttman was given a round of applause at the post-match press conference. Back-to-back home defeats by Wales and Belgium have dented optimism of a first finals appearance, but victory in Zenica would rejuvenate Israel – and surely end Bosnia and Herzegovina's ambitions.
Bosnia and Herzegovina v Israel – 20.45CET

Highlights: Israel 0-3 Wales
Highlights: Israel 0-3 Wales

Can Bale achieve what Giggs never did?
Wales have produced a lot of big names over the years – Ryan Giggs, Ian Rush, Mark Hughes, Neville Southall to name but four. None played a major finals. The 1958 FIFA World Cup remains Wales' only appearance, but the wait could soon be over. At the vanguard of this generation, Gareth Bale will win his 50th cap in this Group B top-of-the-table clash, and he has been the side's talisman all campaign, scoring four times. Victory and a trip to France next summer would be within reach.
Wales v Belgium – 20.45CET

Highlights: Italy v Croatia
Highlights: Italy v Croatia

Group H
Draw may suit Croatia and Italy
Croatia and Italy have met twice in the past three years, and both were fircely-contested 1-1 draws – you would not bet against a hat-trick. The players approach this match creaking after long seasons further elongated by last summer's exploits in Brazil, with a host of players ruled out. Home keeper Danijel Subašić sums up the mood, asking, "Who can be tired when it comes to such a big match?" Maybe fatigue can divide the teams currently first and second in the section.
Croatia v Italy – 20.45CET

Highlights: Croatia 5-1 Norway
Highlights: Croatia 5-1 Norway

Norway can take nothing for granted
Robert Prosinečki began his reign in impressive style in March, leading Azerbaijan to their first three points of the campaign against a Malta team evolving a style that makes them difficult to beat. This match is seen as an opportunity for Norway to get back in the mix with top two Italy and Croatia, but they only managed a 1-0 win in Baku in November and rejuvinated Azerbaijan are determined to keep up the momentum.
Norway v Azerbaijan – 20.45CET

Highlights: Bulgaria v Malta
Highlights: Bulgaria v Malta

Malta in good heart as Bulgaria visit
There is nothing like a long-awaited win to put wind in the sails. On Monday, Malta beat Lithuania 2-0 to end a 19-month, eight-match stretch without a victory. Now they have Bulgaria in their sights. "This win augurs well for Friday," goalscorer Paul Fenech told UEFA.com. "We all know it will be difficult but if we hit the form we reached in the second half against Lithuania then I foresee a very positive outcome."
Malta v Bulgaria – 20.45CET

You can follow all the action on UEFA.com from 18.00CET

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