Your verdict: Play-off fallout

November 18, 2003

Holland, Spain, Russia, Croatia and unheralded Latvia all clinched places in the finals of Euro 2004 following a night of drama and upset on Wednesday.

After a series of surprise first leg results on Saturday, four of the five favourites came through with varying degrees of safety in the second legs as the Dutch led the way thanks to a 6-0 demolition of Scotland in Amsterdam for a 6-1 aggregate win.

Spain beat Norway 3-0 in Oslo for a 5-1 aggregate success, Russia won 1-0 in Cardiff to take their place in Portugal and Croatia beat Slovenia 1-0 away to go through 2-1 on aggregate.

But the biggest shock came in Istanbul where Latvia produced a major upset by knocking out World Cup semi-finalists Turkey to reach the finals of a major tournament for the first time in their short soccer history. [+]

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    Your Verdict:

    I bet Kluivert is regretting saying that he can't play with Ruud Van Nistelrooy in the Dutch national team after he scored a hat-trick in the 6-0 win over Scotland.

    I hope he enjoys his time on the bench at the European Championships - or will he be partying in the small hours?

    Well done to Holland, it would have been a shame if they had missed out on another major tournament after failing to qualify for the 2002 World Cup.

    Brian Wetherton


    As for all the controversy with the Dutch side, I suppose Wednesday night proved that some of the younger players need be featured. Give credit to Advocaat for making these changes when his side had their backs to the wall.

    Also, Ruud is the choice up front especially with the side that was put out there today. A job well done by the Orangemen.

    Brad, Oceanside, CA


    Well, we've been reading quite a lot about the Holland-Scotland game. I am really happy for Dick Advocaat for finally finding a good combination up front. Taking into consideration everything I wouldn't like to be in his position when he decides the first eleven. Having such big names in your squad is not an easy task.

    What I want to say is that I have read somewhere that the Scots said that the Dutch were arrogant last Saturday and that is one of the main reasons why they lost.

    Bertie Vogts was yesterday quoted saying that the Scots are two hours away from Portugal. And that he was planning to take the team to Algarve and send the Dutch players back to their respective clubs to concentrate on their Champions League matches.

    The end result everyone knows, Holland are going to Portugal and Vogts maybe back in GERMANY. How cheeky to accuse the Dutch team of arrogance and afterwards make such statements.

    I enjoyed seeing Scotland being trashed by Holland on Wednesday and I think that is what they deserved.

    Ivan Sciriha, Malta


    Advocaat's neck was on the block he had to make changes to what looked like a jaded team on Saturday, he should claim no plaudits for this victory, question marks about the character of this Dutch side remain I feel.

    K McCormack


    Totally enjoyed Hollands win. Could not believe the hype that followed Scotland's very lucky result last week, just how desperate are they?

    Scotland are still a poor team and the future looks only worse. Never mind, at least they won't have to part with any money while the rest of us are enjoying the Portuguese sun.

    Tony


    I remember reading that one of the headlines of a Turkish newspaper was 'see you in Portugal' after England gained automatic qualification at the Turks' expense.

    Maybe this newspaper should buy tickets for the Turkish players to go and watch the matches.

    Sam Harper-Penman, Perth, Australia


    I am glad to see all the favourites got through to Euro 2004, with the exception of Turkey, as it should make for exciting football at the tournament itself.

    However, it is good to see Latvia making their debut at the championships at the expense of Turkey - who seem to cause trouble wherever they go.

    Tunnel bust-ups, objects thrown on the pitch, raging players getting sent off, security men hitting under-21s....we don't want any of that in Portugal.

    Gustavo Berger


    Absolutely fantastic that Latvia have qualified. The tournament needed this result, certainly as all the other play-off matches went 'to script'.

    Latvia I salute you and hope you have a brilliant tournament. Also well done to those Turkish fans who applauded the Latvians off at the end (but not those bottle and coin throwing fans. Again.)

    Mike Woolrich


    Spain showed all the critics who called them 'chokers' that they can win when they are up against.

    Now they just need to show what they can do on the big stage and Raul is the man to lead them to glory in neighbouring Portugal.

    Brad Gardner


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