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  Qualifying Round



While the favourites generally reasserted their status four days later, Latvia emerged to secure their first major qualification since independence at the expense of a nation that third in the 2002 World Cup. 

Ironically, Latvia were the longest price with bookmakers of all ten play-off teams to qualify, but Turkey travelled back from the first leg in Riga 1-0 down. Maris Verpakovskis was the man on target in the first half, as Turkey had Emre Asik dismissed. 

Ilhan Mansiz and Hakan Sükür did give Turkey a 2-0 lead in Istanbul on 64 minutes. But Jurijs Laizans swiftly claimed an away goal and with 12 minutes left Verpakovskis scored to end Turkey's campaign. 

Another nation chasing a first European Championship qualification, Wales, made a fine start as they held Russia 0-0 in Moscow. But it was Russia who qualified as Vadim Evseev's 22nd-minute header in Cardiff proved the only goal of the tie. 

The Netherlands, winners in 1988, were staring at a disappointing exit after losing their first leg 1-0 in Scotland to a James McFadden goal. But the Dutch were transformed in Amsterdam, and were 3-0 up at half-time through Wesley Sneijder, André Ooijer and Van Nistelrooij. After the break, Van Nistelrooij completed his hat-trick and Frank de Boer headed in to seal a stunning 6-0 triumph. 

Another former winning nation, Spain, fell behind early at home to Norway when Steffen Iversen struck. Raúl González quickly equalised, but their deserved lead only came courtesy of a late Henning Berg own goal. However, after Raúl scored on 34 minutes in Oslo, Spain never looked back, and a 5-1 aggregate triumph was confirmed by Vicente Rodríguez and Joseba Etxeberría. 

Neighbours Slovenia and Croatia met in a tense tie. Slovenia emerged from Zagreb level at 1-1 after Ermin Šiljak cancelled out Dado Pršo's early goal. But the prolific Šiljak was suspended for the return, and although Igor Tudor was sent off just before the hour, Pršo struck almost immediately to ensure Croatia joined Latvia, Russia, the Netherlands and Spain in the finals.

Latvia 1-0 Turkey 15/11/03
Verpakovskis 29
Scotland 1-0 Netherlands 15/11/03
McFadden 22
Croatia 1-1 Slovenia 15/11/03
Pršo 5 Šiljak 22
Russia 0-0 Wales 15/11/03
Spain 2-1 Norway 15/11/03
Raúl 21
Berg og 85
Iversen 15
Turkey 2-2
Agg 2-3
Latvia 18/11/03
Mansiz 20
Hakan Sükür 64
Laizans 66
Verpakovskis 77
Netherlands 6-0
Agg 6-1
Scotland 18/11/03
Sneijder 13
Ooijer 32
van Nistelrooij 36, 50, 66
de Boer 64
Slovenia 0-1
Agg 1-2
Croatia 18/11/03
Pršo 60
Wales 0-1
Agg 0-1
Russia 18/11/03
Evseev 22
Norway 0-3
Agg 1-5
Spain 18/11/03
Raúl 34
Vicente 49
Etxeberría 56





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