Euro qualifiers: Six-star Belgium cruise


A brace from both Kevin de Bruyne and Dries Mertens, as well as goals from young striker Divock Origi and Tottenham’s Nacer Chadli, ensured Vincent Kompany’s charges began their European Championship qualifiers in fine style, as Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois kept a clean sheet in goals for the ‘Red Devils’.

Elsewhere, the Netherlands looked to be heading for another shock defeat following last month’s 2-1 qualifying loss to the Czech Republic as they found themselves 1-0 down at the break against Kazakhstan.

Yet Guus Hiddink’s men upped the ante in the second half, as goals from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Ibrahim Afellay and a penalty from Robin van Persie secured the 3-1 victory, and maximum points, for the Oranje.

In Palermo, Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini was the main attraction at the Stadio Renzo Barbera, scoring all three goals in his side’s 2-1 win over Azerbaijan.

Chiellini opened the scoring in the first half after heading home a corner from team mate Andrea Pirlo. The experienced centre-back then went from hero to villain as he turned home a corner past keepr Ginaluigi Buffon with just 15 minutes on the clock, yet made amends six minutes later after another header gave the Azzurri the lead once more as they held out for their second Euro 2016 qualification victory of their group.

All Friday Euro 2016 qualifying results:

Latvia 0 – 3 Iceland        
Netherlands 3 – 1 Kazakhstan    
Turkey 1 – 2 Czech Republic    
Belgium 6 – 0 Andorra    
Cyprus 1 – 2 Israel        
Wales 0 – 0 Bosnia-Herzegovina        
Bulgaria 0 – 1 Croatia    
Italy 2 – 1 Azerbaijan        
Malta 0 – 3 Norway