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Belgium became the first team to book a place in next year’s European Championship with a record-tying victory over San Marino, while the Netherlands boosted its qualifying chances by scoring three late goals to beat Northern Ireland.

The top-ranked Belgians won 9-0 – matching the record for the biggest margin of victory in their history – to consolidate their place at the summit of Group I and guarantee a top-two finish.

Russia looks almost certain to join them after beating Scotland 4-0 at home to stay eight points clear in second place, with three qualifying matches remaining.

Memphis Depay scored two of the Netherlands’ goals in a 3-1 win over Northern Ireland, leaving the two teams in a three-way tie on 12 points with Germany in Group C. The Northern Irish have played one game more, though, and their remaining two qualifiers are against the Dutch and the Germans.

Croatia remained in control of Group E with a 3-0 win over Hungary. Poland won by the same score, at Latvia, to also retain a three-point lead in Group G.

The top two in each of the 10 groups qualify for the 24-team Euro 2020, which is being played in 12 countries with no automatic places for hosts. The other four qualifiers will come through four tiers of playoffs in March.

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