Cruyff death casts sombre mood over Euro friendlies

Football went back to business on Thursday but a series of Euro 2016 friendlies were played out against a sombre background following the Brussels attacks and the death of Dutch legend Johan Cruyff.

A minute's silence is observed in the wake of the Brussels terror attacks and Johan Cruyff's death in the Wales-Northern Ireland friendly.   -  Getty Images

Football went back to business on Thursday but a series of Euro 2016 friendlies were played out against a sombre background following the Brussels attacks and the death of Dutch legend Johan Cruyff.

In Prague, where the Czech Republic hosted Scotland, there was a minute's silence to remember the 31 people killed in Brussels and to honour Cruyff who lost his battle with lung cancer at the age of 68 on Thursday.

Scotland, playing in pink, took the lead against the Czech Republic after 10 minutes through Ikechi Anya. The Watford winger beat Tomas Koubek in the Czech goal after being put through by Ross McCormack. Just moments earlier, Czech striker Borek Dockal hit a free-kick against Allan McGregor's crossbar.

McGregor was called upon again in the second half to keep out the Czechs who face Spain, Turkey and Croatia in the Euro finals in France in June and July. Scotland failed to qualify for the Euros and is building for its 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

"We are not a great side but we can turn ourselves into a decent side by working hard," said Scotland boss Gordon Strachan.



Wales snatches late draw against Northern Ireland



Substitute Simon Church scored an 89th-minute penalty as Wales snatched a 1-1 friendly draw with Northern Ireland in a pre-Euro 2016 sparring contest in Cardiff.

Craig Cathcart put the visitor ahead on the hour mark, but Church, who is on loan at Aberdeen from Milton Keynes Dons, won and scored a late spot-kick to stretch his side's unbeaten series of matches against Northern Ireland to eight games.

Wales, who will be playing in a first major tournament since the 1958 World Cup, is grouped with England, Russia and Slovakia in France. "Our lads showed pride, and without seven or eight who haven't played in the qualifying campaign it was about looking wider than that tonight," said Wales manager Chris Coleman.



Ukraine, Turkey notch wins, Iceland slumps



Ukraine enjoyed a 1-0 win against Cyprus in Odessa after Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Taras Stepanenko scored the only goal. Ukraine is in the same group as Germany, Poland and Northern Ireland at Euro 2016.

Cenk Tosun scored both goals as Turkey beat Sweden 2-1 in Antalya with defender Andreas Granqvist replying for the visitor eight minutes from time. Sweden is in the same pool as Belgium, Italy and the Republic of Ireland in the finals in the summer. It was without star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic who was rested by coach Erik Hamren although he is expected to play against the Czech Republic next Tuesday.

Iceland, which will feature in France alongside Austria, Portugal and Hungary, slumped to a 2-1 defeat against Denmark which failed to make the finals of a tournament it won in 1992. Nicolai Jorgensen scored both of the Danes' goals at Herning in the 50th and 54th minutes. Midfielder Arnor Ingvi Traustason scored in the last minute for Iceland.