WHILE European powerhouse the Netherlands looks set to miss out on Euro 2016 qualification, tiny Iceland booked its passage to a major finals for the first time Sunday.
The contrast could not be greater as the Dutch stumbled to a humiliating 3-0 defeat to Turkey, while Iceland drew 0-0 with Kazakhstan to stay top of their Group A.
Iceland had all but secured its route to France with a 1-0 win over the Dutch last Thursday, the best result in the history of a nation of population 330,000.
The shock defeat left the famous Oranje in dire straights and battling for third place in the group and the chance of qualification through the playoffs.
But in front of 40,000 passionate Turkish fans in Konya, its star players such as Robin van Persie and Wesley Schneijder were unable to deliver as Turkey romped to victory and leapfrogged them into third.
With the Czech Republic also sealing its passage from Group A Sunday with a 2-1 win in Latvia, the Dutch must hope other results go in their favor in the remaining matches.
Turkey was ahead through an early goal by Oguzhan Ozyakup of Besiktas. Barcelona’s Arda Turan added the second with Burak Yilmaz rounding out the scoring.
New Dutch coach Danny Blind has now lost both his matches in charge.
Iceland’s later match in Reykjavik was an uninspiring affair, but the single point was enough to make a piece of footballing history for the Scandinavian minnows.
Elsewhere, Gareth Bales’ Wales was unable to clinch its passage, held goalless at home by Israel, but looks certain to go through from Group B with Belgium, 1-0 winners in Cyprus. – CNN