Just 14 months after finishing third at the World Cup and at a time of unprecedented Dutch influence in England, the Netherlands are in grave danger of failing to reach next year’s European Championship.
On Sunday evening in the ancient city of Konya, the Dutch face Turkey in what has turned into a battle for third place in Group A.
On Thursday night, Holland lost 1-0 at home to group leaders Iceland, for whom Gylfi Sigurdsson scored a penalty.
The Dutch had Bruno Martins Indi dismissed in the first half for a reckless swipe, while new captain Arjen Robben limped off. Robben then called Martins Indi “very stupid”. It all capped a miserable night for Danny Blind in his first game as manager.
The defeat – Holland’s second against Iceland – left the Dutch third, eight points off top and just one ahead of Turkey in fourth.
But it was not merely the result in Amsterdam which alarmed, it was once again the drab, formulaic performance. Guus Hiddink, vastly experienced, felt compelled to resign in June, lasting just 10 months as Louis van Gaal’s successor. Hiddink’s last competitive home game, against Turkey in March, was so dull Johan Cruyff said it “hurts the eyes”.
Holland rescued a point that night but it came via a deflected Wesley Sneijder shot in injury-time that hit Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Total football, it was not.
“Netherlands were a disgrace against Turkey,” Cruyff said. Blind, Hiddink’s former assistant, has called up Southampton’s new signing Virgil van Dijk and Sunderland’s Jeremain Lens. His son Daley, Memphis Depay and Georgino Wijnaldum, now of Newcastle, all faced Iceland.Reuse content