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Tottenham star inspires Koeman-less Dutch, bad night for Ireland's Euro play-off opponents

Steven Bergwijn was on target for Holland, while Slovakia were beaten 3-1 by Czech Republic.

Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

STEVEN BERGWIJN ensured the Netherlands did not feel the absence of recently departed coach Ronald Koeman to beat Poland 1-0 in the Nations League, while Italy were held 1-1 by Bosnia and Herzegovina on Friday.

Koeman left to take charge of Barcelona last month, less than a year before he was due to lead his country to a major international tournament for the first time.

A rejuvenated Netherlands reached the final of the inaugural Nations League under Koeman last year after missing out on the 2018 World Cup.

Tottenham winger Bergwijn is one of a number of exciting young talents that make the Dutch among the favourites for next year’s Euros and he netted his first international goal by tapping home from close range on the hour mark to give caretaker boss Dwight Lodeweges the perfect start.

Also in Group 1, Italy extended their two-year unbeaten run but had to settle for a point against Bosnia in Florence.

Edin Dzeko put the visitors in front in the country where he plays his club football for Roma before Stefano Sensi levelled 10 minutes later.

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Czech Republic shrugged off the disruption of key players Tomas Soucek and Patrik Schick being forced to self-isolate after coming into contact with a backroom staff member who tested positive for coronavirus. 

The Czechs beat neighbours and Ireland’s upcoming Euro play-off opponents Slovakia 3-1 in Bratislava.

Erling Haaland’s first international goal for Norway was not enough as the hosts lost 2-1 to Austria in Oslo.

Michael Gregoritsch and Marcel Sabitzer’s penalty put the visitors 2-0 in front before the Borussia Dortmund striker’s deft finish opened his international account.

In League C, Kazakhstan beat Lithuania 2-0, while Albania were 2-0 victors in Belarus.

© AFP 2020

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