Netherlands, semifinalists at last year’s FIFA World Cup, failed to qualify for EURO 2016 after crumbling to a 3-2 defeat to 10-man Czech Republic in their final qualifier match.
The Dutch knew only victory over Czech would give them a chance to progress but that also depended on Iceland beating Turkey.
Neither happened though as Danny Blind’s men were beaten 3-2 by the Czech who finished top of Group A, while Selcuk Inan gave Turkey a stoppage time 1-0 winner over Iceland to finish third and claim their spot in Euro 2016 as the best third-placed team.
Pavel Kaderabek and Josef Sural had the Czechs 2-0 up inside half an hour and despite the visitors being reduced to 10 men following a Marek Suchy red card in the 43rd minute, Holland failed to capitalise.
Robin Van Persie turned into his own net after 66 minutes to dent further the Dutch’s qualification hopes. Klaas jan Huntelaar pulled a goal back 20 minutes to the end before van Persie’s 83rd minute goal reduced the deficit further but the visitors held on for the win. This will be the first time the Netherlands have failed to qualify for the EUROs since 1984 when the finals were held in France as well.
“I have no intention to step down. I’m going to carry on with my work because I’m under contract until 2018 and I believe in this team,” Blind, who replaced Guus Hiddink in July, said afterwards.
“Am I the one to blame? I now have to analyse that,” he continued. “The results weren’t good. I won only one match,” out of four since taking over.
Croatia secured the second qualification spot in Group H courtesy of a 1-0 win in Malta and a 2-1 victory for group winners Italy over Norway, who head into the play-offs.
Bosnia-Herzegovina sealed the play-off berth in Group B through a pulsating 3-2 win in Cyprus.
Collated Tuesday Results:
Latvia 0- 1 Kazakhstan
Netherlands 2-3 Czech Republic
Turkey 1-0 Iceland
Belgium 3-1 Israel
Cyprus 2-3 Bosnia-Herzegovina
Wales 2-0 Andorra
Bulgaria 2-0 Azerbaijan
Italy 2-1 Norway
Malta 0-1 Croatia
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