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Eden Hazard stars in Belgium romp; Cech beaten as Czechs salvage late draw

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Like trees falling in the forest with nobody around to watch, the international break rolls on.

Saturday's action was highlighted by a couple high-profile draws, as Netherlands and Italy both failed to collect three points in Euro 2016 qualifying against Turkey and Bulgaria, respectively.  Netherlands' 1-1 draw opened the door for Group A leaders Czech Republic to open up an insurmountable lead, but they, too, failed to win against Latvia.  Both Group favorites needed late equalizers (Huntelaar for the Dutch in the 92nd minute; Pilar for the Czechs in the 90th); Iceland took advantage with a 3-0 win in Kazakhstan, Eidur Gudjohnsen scoring the game's first goal.  Halfway through the qualifying campaign, the Dutch find themselves in third place, 5 points behind second-place Iceland and 6 behind the Czechs.  With the expanded field of the final tournament, Netherlands will still likely make it (would need to do so through the playoffs if they remain in third), but it's been a shocking campaign so far from the third place team at last summer's World Cup.

Petr Cech played for the 113th time for the Czech Republic.  He's now just five appearances behind all-time leader Karel Poborsky.  It wasn't his best or his worst game ever, especially as Latvia concentrated on keeping things solid and organized at the back.  Perhaps he could've done a bit better on the conceded goal -- Visnakovs's shot was neither well placed nor hit impossibly hard.

Beyond the draws, there were several one-sided blowouts, including Belgium's 5-0 romp against Cyprus.  Poor Cyprus, they were perhaps not aware that Eden Hazard's been in pretty good form for a pretty good while now.  An assist and a goal were the icing on the cake of the Chelsea man's day.  He was replaced on 70 minutes by Dries Mertens.  You've seen the goal already; here's the assist for Christian Benteke's header.

I don't mean to tell you how to do your job, Cyprus, but giving Hazard endless time and a galaxy of clear space to pick his cross is not the best idea ever.  He will probably punish you.

Actually, you know what, let's watch that goal again, too.  Soo pretty!  PING!

Hazard has four goals in his last five games for club and country. Sorry, Cyprus!

With the win, Belgium seem to be back on track to qualify easily for Euro 2016.  Should they beat Israel on Tuesday, they will move top of the group, ahead of Wales on goal difference.

Elsewhere, Christian Atsu played the full 90 as Ghana lost to Demba Ba's Senegal 2-1 in a friendly.

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