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2016 European Championship Qualifying, Group Stage 2016
  • Georginio Wijnaldum (67')
  • Luciano Narsingh (71')

Netherlands regain third place in Group A with 2-0 defeat of Latvia

Georginio Wijnaldum and Luciano Narsingh fired two goals in four second-half minutes to keep the Netherlands' Euro 2016 qualification hopes alive in a patchy 2-0 victory in Latvia.

The PSV Eindhoven team-mates transformed a tricky and frustrating night into something resembling a routine victory for Guus Hiddink's men, who moved up to third in Group A.

the Netherlands were desperate for victory in Riga to reignite their chances of automatic qualification for next summer's European Championships.

The profligate visitors wasted a hat-full of first-half chances to break the deadlock however, and were forced to endure more frustrations after the interval.

That all changed after Wijnaldum pounced on a loose ball in the area following Wesley Sneider's blocked shot, the 24-year-old slotting home to ease Dutch nerves.

And just four minutes later Narsingh raced onto a through ball to finish in style, double the lead and make the game safe.

Victory was enough for the Netherlands to regain third place in Group A, after Turkey had temporarily edged above the Dutch courtesy of a shaky 1-0 victory in Kazakhstan.

Iceland moved top of Group A with a 2-1 victory over the Czech Republic, in a result that congested the top of the standings and could potentially play into the Netherlands' hands.

the Netherlands now trail second-placed Czech Republic by three points and group leaders Iceland by five.

Hiddink predicted before this match that 15 points would be enough to guide the Netherlands into the finals, with the top two sides in each group progressing automatically.

The former Chelsea boss may just be proved correct, after completing the first step to turning the Netherlands' turgid qualification battle around.

the Netherlands produced little to ease their qualification troubles in a frustrating first-half.

The visitors took the best part of half an hour to muster a shot on target, and when it came Robin van Persie's shot was saved.

In all the Netherlands had 18 attempts on goal in a first half where they hogged 63 per cent of the possession.

Hiddink's men were unable to make that dominance count, however, only hitting the target on three occasions in the opening half and seeing nine efforts blocked by Latvia's dogged defence.

Depay squandered an early chance by firing wide, before Van Persie's effort was easily batted away.

Depay and Bruno Martins Indi both wasted further openings, before Narsingh missed the target.

Just as Dutch minds wandered to the break to muse on their profligacy, up popped Valerijs Sabala with a big reminder that the visitors would need to sharpen up after the break.

The forward failed to hit the target in his side's only real opening of the half, leaving the match scoreless at the interval.

That pattern continued after the break until the two PSV club-mates stepped in to end the malaise, and tip the Netherlands' qualification battle just about back on course.