THE Netherlands will not feature at Euro 2016 after a 3-2 home defeat by the Czech Republic ensured a miserable qualifying campaign ended in failure.
NETHERLANDS - 2
Huntelaar 70, Van Persie 83
CZECH REPUBLIC - 3
Kaderabek 24, Sural 35, Van Persie 66,og
The Dutch – who finished third in last year’s World Cup – knew only victory would do in the Amsterdam Arena and even then they needed third-placed Turkey to lose to Iceland to clinch third place themselves and a play-off spot in Group A.
Goals from Pavel Kaderabek and Josef Sural, however, put the Czech Republic 2-0 up inside half an hour and while the visitors were reduced to 10 men when Marek Suchy was sent off before half-time, Holland failed to capitalise.
Instead, Robin van Persie, on as a substitute in the 38th minute, headed home an own goal to put the result beyond doubt, before Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Van Persie scored late consolations.
It is the first time Holland have failed to qualify for a major tournament since they missed the 2002 World Cup and the first time they have dialed to qualify for the European Championship finals since 1984. Attention will swiftly now turn to the future of head coach Danny Blind.
The Royal Dutch Football Association insisted the 54-year-old would remain in charge regardless of the team’s fate but pressure is sure to mount, with Southampton manager Ronald Koeman a potential alternative.
It is a remarkable decline for the Dutch who were also World Cup runners-up in 2010.
Turkey, meanwhile, beat Iceland 1-0 to secure automatic qualification to Euro 2016 as the best third-placed team.