Last chance for struggling Holland in World Cup Qualifying


Dutch manager Dick Advocaat faces an uphill battle to send Holland to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, needing victories over Belarus and Sweden to keep the possibility of a second-place finish alive.

Holland are third in Group A, three points behind second-placed Sweden and four points behind first-placed France.

Assuming Sweden see off the minnows of Luxembourg at home on Saturday, Holland face a must-win scenario when they travel to Borisov Arena to meet bottom side Belarus.

That will set up a monumental showdown with Sweden at Amsterdam Arena three days later, where a win for Holland would put them equal on points with Sweden, but an inferior goal difference means they would still fail to qualify for next year’s World Cup.

Holland have failed to beat either of the two teams above them in Group A of World Cup Qualifying; they’ve lost twice to France on an aggregate score of 5-0 and could only manage a draw away to Sweden.

Holland have a +5 goal difference, six behind Sweden’s +11 and, considering the likelihood of Sweden knocking off Luxembourg by a considerable margin, could make their chances of qualifying for the World Cup next to impossible.

Dick Advocaat has no alternative but to keep the faith and has selected an interesting mix of youth and experience in the 25-man squad, as announced by The Royal Dutch Football Association.

Ryan Babel prepares for his first appearance in the national set-up since 2011, having impressed at club level with Besiktas, scoring five times from 10 appearances.

Jurgen Locadia still awaits his debut after making the squad in 2016, but has earned a call-up after a prolific start to the Eredivisie season with PSV, scoring five times from seven starts.

While there’s no place for the injured quartet of Robin van Persie, Quincy Promes, Stefan de Vrij and Bruno Martins Indi, Dick Advocaat has brought Southampton man Virgil van Dijk back into the fold for his first Holland appearance since November.

Wesley Sneijder has also been left out due to a lack of playing time at OGC Nice.

Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen, Maarten Stekelenburg, Jeroen Zoet

Defenders: Virgil van Dijk, Wesley Hoedt, Nathan Ake, Daley Blind, Daryl Janmaat, Matthijs de Ligt, Karim Rekik, Kenny Tete, Joel Veltman

Midfielders: Georginio Wijnaldum, Kevin Strootman, Davy Klaassen, Marco van Ginkel, Donny van den Beek, Davy Propper, Tonny Vilhena, Arjen Robben

Forwards: Bas Dost, Vincent Janssen, Jurgen Locadia, Memphis Depay, Ryan Babel



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.