Seedorf puts the Dutch on their way

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The Independent Online
The Netherlands, the champions in 1988, kept alive their interest in the European Championship with a 3-0 win over Norway in their last Group Five qualifying match in Rotterdam yesterday.

A fortuitous goal from midfield player Clarence Seedorf early in the second half broke the deadlock in a tense game. He chased what seemed a lost cause in the Norwegian penalty area, and when the Chelsea defender Erland Johnsen tried to clear, the ball looped off Seedorf into the net. The Dutch added two more in the closing minutes through Yuri Mulder and Marc Overmars as Norway were forced to chase the game. The defeat, their second in succession, ended Norway's hopes of qualifying for the finals in England next summer after they had led the group from the start.

Victory earned the Dutch second place and put them into a play-off against the Republic of Ireland at Anfield on 13 December. The six group runners- up with the best records qualified directly.

The Czech Republic secured direct passage to the finals in England next summer by beating Luxembourg 3-0 in Prague.

The holders, Denmark, were already sure of reaching the finals even before beating Armenia 3-1 in their last Group Two qualifier. The Danes, surprise winners of the 1992 finals in Sweden after being drafted in as late replacements for the suspended Yugoslavia, finished second to Spain in the group and qualified as one of the six best runners-up.

Jurgen Klinsmann scored twice as Germany beat Bulgaria 3-1 in Berlin to win Group Seven. Germany dominated the second half to clinch their berth in the finals, with Bulgaria going through as runners-up.

Turkey secured their first appearance in a major championship finals since 1954 as runners-up in Group Three behind Switzerland. They drew 2-2 in Sweden where Ertugrul Saglam, of Besiktas, secured their point in the 72nd minute only four minutes after coming on as a substitute.

Romania and France finished first and second in Group One after completing their campaigns with 2-0 wins, over Slovakia and Israel, respectively.