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WC Qualifiers: Dutch and Czechs win, Romania held by Armenia

YEREVAN/SKOPJE/BARCELONA, Nov 17 (SW) – Romania were held to a draw at last-placed Armenia, while the Czechs needed until the dying minutes to get past Macedonia. The Netherlands revealed little inspiration but made no mistakes against Andorra.

Without the suspended Adrian Mutu, the Romanians took the lead in the Armenian capital Yerevan after 27 minutes through Marica, but Dokhoyan shocked the visited two minutes after the hour mark, levelling for Armenia, who earned their first point in this group.

The Czechs were having a hard time in Skopje against Macedonia, who have showed a very irregular performance in the group so far, holding the Netherlands to a draw before crashing to a defeat at Andorra.

The match seemed to be heading for a scoreless draw but Vratislav Lokvenc finally broke the deadlock for the Czech Republic in the 87th minute, after which the tall Borussia Dortmund striker Jan Koller netted the second for a 0-2 result.

For the last match on Wednesday, the Netherlands travelled to Barcelona to face group minnows Andorra, who almost took the lead in the opening phase but had a goal disallowed by the referee. PSV midfielder Cocu put the Dutch ahead in the 21st minute and Arjen Robben got the second, eleven minutes larer.

The Dutch showed no real dominance during the remainder of the match and needed until the 78th minute for Wesley Sneijder to score from a Van Hooijdonk assist. In the dying minutes, Robben hit the post and a Van Hooijdonk free kick was easily saved by goalkeeper Koldo.

The Netherlands now lead in Group 1 with 10 points from four games, while Romania have the same amount of points from five matches. The Czechs climb to the third position with nine points.

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