Wout Weghorst winner all but ends Republic of Ireland's Euro 2024 hopes
The Republic of Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for Euro 2024 were all but ended by the Netherlands for whom substitute Wout Weghorst’s goal secured a 2-1 win in Dublin.
The hosts, in need of victory to put themselves in contention in Group B, took the lead on four minutes when Adam Idah scored from the penalty spot after Virgil van Dijk had been penalised for handball.
Goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu brought down Denzel Dumfries as the Netherlands won a penalty of their own midway through the first half, with Cody Gakpo levelling from 12 yards.
Weghorst ensured his side moved second with a game in hand behind leaders France when he scored from Dumfries’ cut-back after 56 minutes to leave the Republic requiring a Dutch collapse if they are to progress.
Elsewhere in the group, Greece beat Gibraltar 5-0 in Athens to remain in the race for the second qualifying spot.
Dimitrios Pelkas opened the scoring after nine minutes before Konstantinos Mavropanos followed up midway through the half with the first of two goals.
Giorgos Masouras netted after the break, before both he and Mavropanos each grabbed another to seal the victory and put the hosts level with the Dutch on nine points, albeit having played a game more.
Northern Ireland fell to a 1-0 defeat in Kazakhstan, their fourth by the same scoreline in a run of five straight losses, to leave their hopes of qualification virtually extinguished.
Striker Maksim Samorodov drilled into the bottom corner from outside the box and beyond Bailey Peacock-Farrell after 32 minutes to keep the home side in with a realistic chance of reaching their first major tournament.
They are one of four teams separated by a point at the top of Group H, with Denmark leading the way thanks to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s 86th-minute strike to seal a 1-0 win away in Finland.
It meant the Danes briefly replaced their hosts at the top of the group, before being knocked back into second on goal difference after Slovenia romped to a 4-0 win in San Marino.
Zan Vipotnik, Jan Mlakar, Sandi Lovric and Zan Karnicnik scored the goals against the section’s bottom side, who remain without a point.
Poland’s hopes of reaching the finals received a serious knock as they lost for the third time in five games in Group E, this time going down to a 2-0 defeat in Albania.
Jasir Asani and Mirlind Daku scored either side of half-time in Tirana to send Albania two points clear of the Czech Republic at the top of the group.
Moldova are behind the Czechs on goal difference after they kept up their surprise bid to reach the finals with a 1-0 win in the Faroe Islands.
Vadim Rata netted early in the second half in Torshavn to move his side onto eight points and leave the Faroes adrift at the bottom with a single point on the board.
In Group G, Montenegro and Serbia kept up the pressure on leaders Hungary in a three-way fight to qualify.
Montenegro needed a goal six minutes into added time from Stevan Jovetic to snatch a 2-1 win against Bulgaria in Podgorica despite having played more than 30 minutes with 10 players.
Igor Vujacic was sent off just before the hour mark after Stefan Savic had given the hosts the lead on the stroke of half-time, but Preslav Borukov levelled in the 79th minute before Jovetic’s dramatic late intervention.
Aleksandar Mitrovic score a first-half hat-trick as Serbia coasted to a 3-1 win in Lithuania, with Gytis Paulauskas’s goal not enough to rescue the home side’s faint hopes of qualification.