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  Qualifying Round

  

Group 3

Following the draw for the UEFA EURO 2004 qualifiers, Group 3 was widely considered to be one of the most competitive. The Netherlands were slight favourites but with the Czech Republic and Austria - and to a lesser extent Belarus and Moldova - also involved, nothing could be taken for granted. 

The Dutch entered with a point to prove after missing out on the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals while the Czechs, runners-up in the competition in 1996, were also hoping to bounce back under new coach Karel Brückner after failing to reach Korea/Japan. 

Brückner was quick to introduce several youngsters from his Under-21 side that had reached the final of the 2000 UEFA European Under-21 Championship. However, he also kept faith in experienced players such as Pavel Nedved, Jan Koller and Karel Poborskı. 

The first round of games in September and October 2002 went to form with Austria and the Czech Republic beating Moldova and Belarus. The Netherlands also won their opening fixture by beating Belarus 3-0 at home. The first defining tie of the group saw the Netherlands travel to Austria. A classy performance by the visitors earned them a 3-0 victory courtesy of Clarence Seedorf, Phillip Cocu and Roy Makaay. 

However, the momentum swung towards the Czechs when Koller grabbed an equaliser against the Dutch in Rotterdam in March. The Czechs followed that fine 1-1 draw with a 4-0 home demolition of Austria, with Koller (2), Nedved and Marek Jankulovski scoring. 

The Dutch were nervy against Moldova, needing an 85th-minute goal from Mark van Bommel to give them a 2-1 victory. The Moldovans built on that to achieve perhaps the best result in their history as they beat Austria 1-0 at home, Viorel Frunza scoring the winner. When the Dutch beat Austria 3-1 in Rotterdam in September it ended the visitors' hopes of reaching Portugal and, with no other unexpected results, the group boiled down to the crunch encounter between the Czech Republic and the Netherlands in Prague. 

Goals from Koller, Poborskı and Milan Baroš earned the home side a memorable and deserved 3-1 victory and secured their qualification for Portugal. Meanwhile, the Dutch had again failed to meet their own high expectations and were left to enter the play-offs. The final set of games saw the Czechs win 3-2 in Austria while the Dutch headed into their play-off showdown against Scotland in good heart after a 5-0 win at home against Moldova.
  - UEFA.com

 
Austria 2-0 Moldova 07/09/02
Herzog pen 3, pen 30  
Netherlands 3-0 Belarus 07/09/02
Davids 34
Kluivert 36
Hasselbaink 73
 
Belarus 0-2 Austria 12/10/02
  Schopp 57
Akagunduz 89
Moldova 0-2 Czech Republic 13/10/02
  Jankulovski pen 71
Rosicky 80
Austria 0-3 Netherlands 16/10/02
  Seedorf 15
Cocu 20
Makaay 29
Czech Republic 2-0 Belarus 16/10/02
Poborsky 7
Baros 23
 
Belarus 2-1 Moldova 29/03/03
Kutuzov 42
Gurenko 58
Cebotari 14
 
Netherlands 1-1 Czech Republic 29/03/03
van Nistelrooy 44 Koller 68 
Czech Republic 4-0 Austria 02/04/03
Nedved 19
Koller 32, 62
Jankulovski pen 57
 
Moldova 1-2 Netherlands 02/04/03
Boret 16  van Nistelrooy 37
van Bommel 84
Moldova 1-0 Austria 07/06/03
Frunza 60  
Belarus 0-2 Netherlands 07/06/03
  Overmars 62
Kluivert 69
Czech Republic 5-0 Moldova 11/06/03
Smicer 42
Koller pen 73
Stanjer 82
Lokvenc 88, 90
 
Austria 5-0 Belarus 11/06/03
Aufhauser 33
Haas 47
Kirchler 52
Wallner 62
Cerny 69
 
Netherlands 3-1 Austria 06/09/03
van der Vaart 30
Kluivert 60
Cocu 63
Pogatetz 34 
Belarus 1-3 Czech Republic 06/09/03
Bulyga 13 Nedved 36
Baros 54
Smicer 85
Czech Republic 3-1 Netherlands 10/09/03
Koller pen 15
Poborsky 37
Baros 90
van der Vaart 61
Moldova 2-1 Belarus 10/09/03
Dadu 26
Covalciuc 88
Vasiluk pen 90
Austria 2-3 Czech Republic 11/10/03
Haas 48
Ivanschnitz 78
Jankulovski 26
Vachousek 79
Koller 90
Netherlands 5-0 Moldova 11/10/03
Kluivert 43
Sneijder 51
van Hooijdonk pen 74
van der Vaart 80
Arjen Robben 89
 

 

 

 

 

 

 « Group Standings »

Group 3
Czech Rep.
Netherlands
Austria
Moldova
Belarus

P
8
8
8
8
8

W
7
6
3
2
1

D
1
1
0
0
0

L
0
1
5
6
7

F
23
20
12
5
4

A
5
6
14
19
20

Pt
22
19
9
6
3

 

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