A total of nine European qualifying games were played, with the story of the round being Holland’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Holland 2-0 Sweden
Unsurprisingly, some would argue, Holland failed to defeat the Swedish by seven goals and so crashed out of World Cup qualifying.
Matters weren’t helped when, in the previous round, Holland managed Dick Advocaat was quoted as arrogantly predicting that Sweden wouldn’t beat minnows Luxembourg by a large enough margin to make them worried.
He told reporters: “They won’t win 8-0. What a stupid question! I don’t believe that.”
Unfortunately for Advocaat, that was the exact margin by which Sweden did beat Luxembourg.
In this game, Arjen Robben – who has since retired from international football after failure to qualify – opened the scoring on 16 minutes from the penalty spot.
Robben then added his country’s second on 40 minutes but it would prove to not be enough for his side, who failed to qualify for another major tournament.
Belgium 4-0 Cyprus
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard opened the scoring on 12 minutes for Belgium in a routine and convincing victory over Cyprus.
It then became somewhat of a family affair when brother Thorgan Hazard, who plays his club Borussia Monchengladbach, on 52 minutes.
Eden, not to be outdone, added his second from the penalty spot on 63 minutes.
Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku then completed the rout for Belgium on 78 minutes.
Estonia 1-2 Bosnia Herzegovina
Werder Bremen’s Izet Hajrovic opened the scoring for Bosnia on 48 minutes, before Ilja Antonov, who plays club football for Rudar Velenje in Slovenia, equalised on 75 minutes.
Hajrovic netted again on 84 minutes to win the game for Bosnia.
The match was overshadowed by crowd trouble, when Bosnia’s travelling fans threw a number of flairs onto the pitch at the A. Le Coq Arena in Tallinn.
France 2-1 Belarus
Atletico Madrid’s star striker Antoine Greizmann broke the deadlock for France on 27 minutes, before Olivier Giroud quickly doubled France’s advantage on 33 minutes.
Dinamo Minsk’s Anton Saroka got a goal back for Belarus on 44 minutes.
Greece 4-0 Gibraltar
Greece won convincingly in a game where they were hardly challenged by minnows Gibraltar – who managed just two shots off target all day.
Bologna’s Vasilis Torosidis got the scoring started with his goal on 32 minutes, before a quickfire double from Marseille striker Konstantinos Mitroglou, on 61 minutes and 63 minutes, put them in a commanding lead.
Real Valladolid’s Giannis Gianniotas, who is on loan from Olympiacos, completed the scoring for Greece on 78 minutes.
Hungary 1-0 Faroe Islands
Ferencvarosi’s Daniel Bode scored the only goal of the game on 81 minutes, in a game that Hungary dominated the attempts at goal – some 19 to the Faroe Island’s 5 – despite only having 32%.
Latvia 4-0 Andorra
Latvia’s forward Davis Ikaunieks got them off to an early lead with a goal on 11 minutes against minnows Andorra.
The lead was quickly doubled by Valerijs Sabala on 19 minutes, before Sabala added his second of the game early into the second half on 59 minutes.
Four minutes later, on 63 minutes, Igors Tarasovs made it four to Latvia.
Luxembourg 1-1 Bulgaria
Luxembourg nearly achieved a major upset against Bulgaria when they went ahead through a Olivier Thill goal on 3 minutes.
Bulgaria, who struggled to break down a resilient Luxembourg defence, were spared their blushes with an equalising goal on 68 minutes from Palermo’s Ivaylo Chochev.
Portugal 2-0 Switzerland
Portugal broke the deadlock on 42 minutes through a Johan Djourou own goal, before Andre Silva doubled their advantage on 57 minutes.
It was a game largely void of attempts at goal, with just nine overall.