Blind faith: Son shows support for sacked dad

AMSTERDAM • Daley Blind was among the first to react to the sacking of his father Danny as coach of the Netherlands national side by posting a supportive message on social media.

"We worked together at the highest level, a dream for both of us as father and son," the 27-year-old Manchester United defender wrote on his Instagram account.

"It was not always easy and did not always sit comfortably. But I'm proud of the way you always took responsibility and never gave up."

Danny was sacked on Sunday after a 2-0 defeat by Bulgaria the previous day left the team's chances of reaching the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russia hanging by the slenderest of threads.

The 55-year-old had been in charge since July 2015, succeeding Guus Hiddink, but Saturday's loss in Sofia left the Dutch in fourth place in Group A, six points behind leaders France.

Only the group winners are guaranteed a place in Russia.

Danny said he was saddened by the decision, adding: "We were on the right track in Bulgaria, but it's a pity that it ends like this."

His assistant Fred Grim will take charge of the team for today's friendly against Italy in Amsterdam.

"We have a lot of respect for Danny, but due to negative results and the difficulty we have to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, we must part company with him," said the Dutch federation.

The Netherlands, three-time World Cup runners-up, also failed to qualify for Euro 2016.

"To qualify for Russia will be very complicated," admitted midfielder Wesley Sneijder.

The writing was already on the wall for Danny after he was summoned to meet the federation's officials in the aftermath of the Bulgarian setback.

Dutch newspapers pronounced the defeat a "debacle".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2017, with the headline 'Blind faith: Son shows support for sacked dad'. Print Edition | Subscribe