Football: Dutch football plunges into crisis with Euro 2016 hopes in tatters

The forlorn body language of the Netherlands captain Robin van Persie (far left) and Wesley Sneijder said it all after Turkey won their Euro 2016 Group A qualifier 3-0 in Konya, Turkey, on Sunday. "I feel terrible, really terrible," said van Persie a
The forlorn body language of the Netherlands captain Robin van Persie (far left) and Wesley Sneijder said it all after Turkey won their Euro 2016 Group A qualifier 3-0 in Konya, Turkey, on Sunday. "I feel terrible, really terrible," said van Persie after the surprise defeat. Dutch coach Danny Blind said his players had shot themselves in the foot.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Losses to Turkey, Iceland leave coach furious as team could be denied Euro play-offs berth

AMSTERDAM (REUTERS, AFP) • The Netherlands were plunged into a veritable crisis after Sunday's 0-3 loss to Turkey left their Euro 2016 football qualification hopes in tatters with the local press declaring it as the end of an era.

New coach Danny Blind said the team had "shot ourselves in the foot" with individual errors in the defeat in Konya.

That had followed a 0-1 home loss to Iceland on Thursday.

In front of 40,000 Turkish supporters creating a hostile atmosphere in the packed Konya arena, Turkey combined cohesion with physicality as the Dutch fell short in every department.

An early strike by Oguzhan Ozyakup of Besiktas was followed by a second from Barcelona's Arda Turan and then a killer third from Burak Yilmaz.

Coach Fatih Terim hailed his players for turning round their insipid performance in Thursday's draw with Latvia.

"I offer the players limitless congratulations and thanks," he said.

"The players turned the game in the way I want."

The Netherlands' star Turkey-based players Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie failed to make any impact up front.

The two losses in Blind's first two games left the Dutch in fourth place in Group A. They need to overhaul a two-point deficit against third-placed Turkey with two games to play next month, to have any chance of reaching the Euro finals via the November play-offs.

It is a significant fall for the Netherlands after finishing third at the World Cup in Brazil last year.

"We don't count any more," screamed the front page of yesterday's Algemeen Dagblad.

The high-brow Volkskrant said there was a "blatant lack of quality, fitness, speed, teamwork and courage" displayed by the team.

Midfielder Sneijder was not sure what exactly went wrong.

"Maybe it's bad luck, maybe it's a lack of confidence," the Galatasaray player said after the latest loss.

"We let two easy goals in that had to do purely with a lack of concentration and focus."

Van Persie, who was dumped as captain by Blind for the Iceland game but restored on Sunday after an injury to Arjen Robben, did not hide his feelings.

"The whole qualifying tournament has all been very difficult. We now no longer have it in our own hands. I feel terrible, really terrible," he said.

The Dutch were on the back foot from the start of the preliminaries as Guus Hiddink's first competitive game back as coach saw them lose in Prague to the Czech Republic.

That was followed the next month by defeat in Iceland.

Continuing poor performances and mounting criticism saw Hiddink resign after less than a year in charge. Blind was then promoted from assistant.

"You let yourself enormously down if you give goals away so easily," said Blind.

"We had a few good chances of our own before half-time. In total, maybe more than Turkey but we did not reward ourselves."

The Dutch next face Kazakhstan away on Oct 10.

They finish their group campaign at home to the already-qualified Czech Republic on Oct 13.

Iceland are set to take the second automatic qualification spot available in Group A.

The Dutch, however, will have more than one eye on Turkey's progress at the same time in their last two group games in Prague and at home to Iceland.

Only a poor performance from the Turks will enable the Dutch to make it to the play-offs for the finals in France.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2015, with the headline 'Blind alley traps Dutch'. Print Edition | Subscribe