Netherlands, Italy seal World Cup spots

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Netherlands, Italy seal World Cup spots

LONDON - The Netherlands and Italy celebrated becoming the first European teams to book places at next year’s World Cup in Brazil on Tuesday when the final pieces of the continent’s qualifying jigsaw began to fall into place.

The Dutch sealed their place after a Robin van Persie double gave them a 2-0 win in Andorra while Italy came from behind to beat the Czech Republic, 2-1, in Turin with Mario Balotelli scoring the goal that sealed their berth from the penalty spot.

There was also plenty for Germany, Switzerland, Russia, France, England and Bosnia to be happy about, but there was gloom for Romania, Israel and Ireland, plus the Czechs, as their hopes either disappeared totally or became no longer feasible.

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