Football: Dutch facing Euro surrender

Wesley Sneijder (in white) of the Netherlands scoring his side's second goal in the 2-1 victory against Kazakhstan in the Euro 2016 Group A qualifier in Astana, Kazakhstan on Saturday. In order to qualify, the Dutch must beat the Czech Republic tomor
Wesley Sneijder (in white) of the Netherlands scoring his side's second goal in the 2-1 victory against Kazakhstan in the Euro 2016 Group A qualifier in Astana, Kazakhstan on Saturday. In order to qualify, the Dutch must beat the Czech Republic tomorrow and hope that Iceland win against Turkey.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Injury worries mean Netherlands could miss European C'ship for the first time since 1984

ASTANA (Kazakhstan) • If the Netherlands are to seal an unlikely place at Euro 2016, they will have to limp over the line. With one qualifier remaining, the Dutch are set to miss out on their first European Championship since 1984.

The Oranje need to beat the Czech Republic tomorrow and hope that group leaders Iceland, who have already qualified, will return to winning ways in Turkey after drawing their last two qualifiers.

To further complicate matters for the Netherlands, they are facing an injury crisis.

"It looks like nothing normal happens any more. This is getting extreme now," Danny Blind told Dutch news broadcaster NOS after getting his first win as Netherlands manager - a 2-1 victory in Kazakhstan on Saturday.

"First there was Jasper's (Cillessen) injury when we were warming up and then later on Tim (Krul) got injured as well. It looks like a bad injury. We are missing about 15 players now."

The Dutch went into the crucial qualifier in Astana without the likes of Arjen Robben, Kevin Strootman and Stefan de Vrij.

By the end of it, goalkeepers Cillessen and Krul both joined the ranks of the walking wounded, with Newcastle's Krul leaving the ground on crutches.

Blind was forced to give 24-year-old PSV Eindhoven stopper Jeroen Zoet his debut, alongside defenders Kenny Tete and Virgil van Dijk as well as winger Anwar El Ghazi.

Georginio Wijnaldum and Wesley Sneijder scored either side of half-time, before Islambek Kuat reduced the deficit with virtually the last kick of the game.

"We were in control for 60 minutes, but forgot to add a third goal," added Blind. "We struggled a bit from there on because of their opportunistic style of play."

The win lifted the Netherlands momentarily into third place. But Turkey have their fate in their hands after a 2-0 win over the Czech Republic later on Saturday.

Turkey need just one point from their last game to cement third place in Group A and clinch a play-off spot.

Fatih Terim's men broke through in the 62nd minute after Czech defender Filip Novak conceded a penalty for a foul on Serdar Aziz in the box.

Selcuk Inan converted the spot kick for the Turks, who doubled their lead in the 80th minute when Hakan Calhanoglu beat his marker and slotted home after latching onto Arda Turan's lofted pass into the penalty area. REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2015, with the headline 'Dutch facing Euro surrender'. Print Edition | Subscribe