Euro 2016 Qualifying Review: Wales and Iceland take step towards finals

After respective victories over Belgium and Czech Republic, Wales and Iceland are well placed to end their major tournament droughts.

Wales and Iceland are in pole position to qualify for Euro 2016 after crucial wins in qualifying on Friday.

Gareth Bale scored the only goal of the game as Wales beat Belgium 1-0, the Real Madrid forward marking his 50th cap for his country with a simple finish after a terrible defensive header from Radja Nainggolan.

The result puts Wales - seeking to qualify for their first major tournament since the 1958 World Cup - three points clear of Belgium in Group B.

Iceland have never played in the finals of an international competition, but now head Group A by two points from Czech Republic after beating the 1996 runners-up 2-1.

Midfielder Borek Dockal put Czech Republic ahead in the 55th minute before Iceland turned things around thanks to goals from Aron Gunnarsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson. 

Netherlands are a further three points back in third in that group after Georginio Wijnaldum and Luciano Narsingh netted to secure a 2-0 win at Latvia and ease the pressure on Guus Hiddink following last week's 4-3 friendly loss to United States.

Croatia maintained their place at the top of Group H with an eventful 1-1 draw against 2012 finalists Italy.

Mario Mandzukic - who four minutes earlier had seen his penalty saved by Gianluigi Buffon - slotted in the seventh-minute opener from close range after Italy forward Stephan El Shaarawy's strike had been incorrectly ruled out for offside.

But Italy did level thanks to Antonio Candreva's chipped 36th-minute spot-kick before Croatia's Darijo Srna was sent off late on for a second bookable offence.

Italy remain two points behind Croatia in second with Norway a further two back in third following a disappointing 0-0 draw with Azerbaijan.

Elsewhere, Turkey won 1-0 at Kazakhstan, Bulgaria beat Malta 1-0, Bosnia-Herzegovina overcame Israel 3-1 and Cyprus claimed victory at Andorra by the same scoreline.