Netherlands has been one of the biggest disappointments in the Euro 2016 Qualifiers. The bronze medal winners of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil sits in fourth in Group A after a 3-0 loss to Turkey on Sunday.
Captain Robin van Persie and his teammates fell behind early against Turkey with Oguzhan Ozyakup scoring after just eight minutes. Arda Turan then made it 2-0 in the 26th minute. Burak Yilmaz made it 3-0 in the 86th minute to complete the humiliating loss for the Dutch.
The Dutch also suffered a 1-0 loss to Iceland earlier in the week, and the two straight losses have seen them lose the third spot in the group which would at least yield a qualification playoff spot. The have three wins, one draw and four losses with two games remaining in the qualifications. They sit nine points of leaders Iceland, nine points behind second-placed Czech Republic and one point behind Turkey.
The team has struggled defensively and that was abundantly clear in the game against Turkey on Sunday, where two of the goals came after defensive error and some poor goalkeeping.
Netherlands has dropped from being ranked fifth on the FIFA World Rankings at the start of the year, to 12th in the latest rankings that came out earlier this week. With the two losses against Iceland and Turkey, chances are they they will fall even further down the rankings.
Netherlands only has one win in the last four qualification games, and they have to rely on other results going their way in order to at least get a qualification playoff spot. They have two games remaining on October against Kazakhstan away and the Czech Republic at home. They will need to win both those matches and hope that Turkey drops points to either the Czech Republic or Iceland. Both those nations are already set for an automatic spot in the tournament as they will finish top two.
Manager Danny Blind took over the national team in July after Guus Hiddink left the post. Blind had been an assist to Hiddink for three years, but he has failed to get the team back on track and it has been a tough year for the Dutch since beating Brazil in the bronze medal game at the World Cup.
Blind spoke to De Telegraaf after the loss to Turkey and was unhappy with what he saw from his side saying that they shot themselves in the foot.
“You make yourself incredibly short when you give away that easy goals,” Blind said. “The first goal arises because we did not win the second ball, but the center does not have to be open. The second fell after another mistake. There are made at the wrong times personal mistakes and it cost us.”
The Dutch newspapers were harsh in the criticism of the players and the game against Turkey, calling it “a flop.” After being such a strong force in European soccer for such a long time, it’s quite shocking to see a team with such a great pedigree struggle. On paper, they still have a very strong side, but something just isn’t clicking. Arjen Robben got injured against Iceland, and van Persie has struggled to score, only finding the back of the net on two occasions.
Suffering two disheartening losses in less than a week could be the nail in the coffin for this team. They now have to go out and win final two games but even then that might not be enough since the need Turkey to drop points. It’s a really tough situation that they have put themselves in and it remains to be seen if there is any fight left in The Flying Dutchmen.