Category Archives: EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Euro 2016 Qualifier Preview – Turkey vs. Netherlands

The Netherlands are back in Euro 2016 qualifying action on Sunday at 17:00BST when they go head to head with Fatih Terim’s Turkey. A game, which is crucial for both sides in Group A as the two sides are desperate for three points to help keep their European qualifying dream alive. Here’s Sam May with a full pre-match preview…

Both teams currently sit out of the automatic qualification places in Group A, but a win for either side on Sunday would help boost their chances of qualification. The Netherlands currently sit six points behind the Czech Republic and eight points behind group leaders Iceland. Whilst Turkey are seven points behind the Czech’s and nine points behind the Icelanders.

Danny Blind takes charge of his second game for the Dutch hoping it will be a night to remember in Turkey. It was a losing start for manager Blind as he watched his side fall short to Iceland at the Amsterdam ArenA through Swansea City midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson’s spot-kick just after the half-time break. The victory for Iceland was also helped by the sending off of Bruno Martins Indi for his unnecessary reaction to a scuffle with former Ajax striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, a reaction that Oranje captain Arjen Robben slammed as “very stupid”.

As a result, the Oranje can still qualify and gain one of the two automatic qualification spots, they will however be hoping that either Iceland or the Czech Republic slip up, which would enable them to do so. The defeat to the Czech Republic in their opening match was the one that left the Netherlands trailing, but wins over Latvia and Kazakhstan have helped to keep them in contention. Blind’s side will be hoping to secure all three points in Turkey or his team will be left hanging by a thread and could face an early exit from Group A. The Netherlands still haven’t recorded back-to-back wins in the competition. A win on Sunday though and there is still hope bearing in mind that one of the teams above them must slip up.

The Dutch also play the Czech Republic in their final match and the Oranje have not failed to qualify for the European Championships since 1984 – an early exit from the competition would definitely send shock waves around Holland. They have however won the tournament in 1988 and have reached the semi-finals three times since then.

TEAM NEWS

Bruno Martins Indi is suspended for the crucial clash due to his unprofessional foul on Tuesday night, which helped Iceland claim the three points. PSV central defender Jeffrey Bruma is expected to fill the void left by Martins Indi, however Blind could also turn to Feyenoord’s 21 year-old versatile defender Terence Kongolo or Southampton’s new signing from Celtic, Virgil van Dijk. Captain Arjen Robben has also been sent back to Munich due to the groin injury he picked up in the 1-0 defeat to Iceland with Sunderland winger Jeremain Lens been added to the squad as a replacement. Look to PSV Luciano Narsingh to start in FC Bayern Munich man’s place.

Turkey’s Arda Turn was suspended due to picking up too many bookings for the previous clash against the Netherlands but is expected to lead the line for Turkey on Sunday night.

PROBABLE LINE-UPS

Netherlands 4-3-3: Cillessen;Van der Wiel, De Vrij, Bruma, Blind; Klaassen, Wijnaldum, Sneijder; Depay, Narsingh, Huntelaar.

Recent Form: WLWDWL

Turkey 4-3-3: Babacan; Balta, Aziz, Calhanoglu, Inan; Turan, Tore, Tufan; Sen, Bulut, Yilmaz.

Recent Form: LDWDWD

REFEREE

Antonio Mateu Lahoz (Spain)

PREDICTION

Turkey 1-2 Netherlands

Name-SamMay

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Dutch Euro hopes suffer Blind panic

NETHERLANDS 0-1 ICELAND

Danny Blind’s new look Netherlands faced Lars Lagerback and Heimir Hallgrimsson’s Iceland in tonight’s European Championship qualifying encounter at the Amsterdam ArenA. It was a game that saw new coach Blind take to the Holland hot seat for the first time, since the resignation of Guus Hiddink.

Both teams were looking forward to the evening’s encounter but Arjen Robben was feeling the heat the most stating that his side were in a “delicate situation” going into the match. Iceland went into the match knowing a win tonight and win against Kazakhstan on Sunday would clinch them qualification for the first time ever. As for the Netherlands they knew a defeat tonight would make it very difficult for them to secure qualification.

The Dutch roar echoed across the city of Amsterdam as the teams took to the field although, there was however tension in the air knowing that it would be worrying times for the Dutch if they failed to win tonight.

The game kicked off and it was the visitors who started the match brightly though on five minutes, an open goal miss by Bodvarsson from five yards out was the best chance for Iceland. A delightful cross by Gudmundsson. It would have been a well-deserved lead for the visitors but ended with a head in the hands instead moment for the 3,000 travelling supporters.

After eight minutes it was the Netherlands’ time to turn the screw with a fine shot from Robben on the right from 25 yards, that was equally matched by the on-rushing NEC Nijmegen stopper Halldorsson in goal for Iceland.

On 11 minutes, a foul by Stefan De Vrij invited a decent delivery from by Gylfi Sigurdson, which was comfortably caught by Jasper Cillessen in the Dutch goal. Shortly after a cross from Wesley Sneijder found Robben who could only see his tame header deflected out for a Netherlands corner.

Robben found Sneijder after quarter of an hour, whose shot from 20 yards deflected out for a corner to the hosts. It was a decent spell by the Netherlands and a nice piece of trickery from Manchester United’s Memphis Depay helped to find Robben who was deliberately fouled by Arnason. The freekick was taken but Robben could only see his speculative effort deflect of Davy Klaassen and go out for a goal kick to the away team.

There were worrying signs for the Netherlands on 25 minutes when Robben was stood holding his groin and had to be replaced by PSV winger Luciano Narsingh. The Bayern Munich winger had only just returned after four weeks out on the sidelines. Not something manager Blind would have hoped for.

On 27 minutes, a great delivery from the right by Depay picked out Hunterlaar, whose effort looked to have scraped the far hand post. It looked like it could be a long evening for the Netherlands.

Bruno Martins Indi

It did not get any better shortly after, Bruno Martins Indi was handed a straight red card after a foul on Kolbeinn Sigthorsson but replays show that Martins Indi had acted unprofessionally.  Three minutes later, lone striker Klass-Jan Huntelaar was replaced by PSV defender Jeffrey Bruma, a move that did not go down well with the home fans. With half time approaching, there was one last chance for Wesley Sneijder who could only see his 30-yard pile driver, fall into the arms of Halldorsson.

The second half began and on 49 minutes Iceland were awarded a penalty after a rash tackle by Gregory Van Der Wiel on Bjarnason, which was well worthy of a yellow card. The penalty was dispatched confidently by Sigurdsson, only for Cillessen to get a hand on it. A head in the hands moment from Robben as he watched on from the bench. The emotions were showing with Cillessen clearly frustrated with himself for not keeping it out. The Netherlands 37 game-winning streak at home was coming to an end.

The visitors nearly added a second on 53 minutes when Johann Berg Gudmundsson fired a powerful shot onto the post, no chance for Cillessen. Ten minutes later, Narsingh found Sneijder, and his 20-yard low shot found the gloves of Halldorson. Newcastle United’s new signing Georginio Wijnaldum had a similar effort shortly after, which was equally matched by the Iceland shot stopper. It was turning into a real frustrating evening for the Netherlands.

On 68 minutes, Davy Klaassen, found Narsingh only for him blaze wide from ten yards wide right.  Mid-way through the second-half, Bjarnason picked out veteran, Eidur Gudjohnson who also found Gudmundsson only to fire over from six yards out, a glorious chance wasted for the visitors to take a two-goal lead.

With only ten minutes remaining on the clock, Blind’s men were hoping to grab at least a point; Narsingh found Wijnaldum on the right who shot from eighteen yards was a conformable save and with news coming in that the Czech Republic were beating Kazakhstan in one of the other fixtures in the group, it was looking that little bit more desperate for the Netherlands.

There was one last chance for a Netherlands equaliser as Klaassen fired a cross into the Iceland box, but the cross was well defender by Skulason as Depay was ready to pounce.

The full time whistle was blown, and boos bellowed around the Amsterdam ArenA.

For the first time, 24 countries will contest the European Championship. As the host nation, France claim an automatic spot with the other 23 entrants determined by the ongoing qualifiers. The nine group winners along with nine group runners-up and the best third-placed side go directly through to the finals with the eight remaining third-placed teams will face off in two legged play-offs to determine the last four qualifiers. This looks to be the Dutch’s most realistic way of gaining qualification, however, Turkey stand in their way as they are desperate themselves to clinch the third spot, and Blind must take his men to Konya on Sunday evening to face them, in what now seems a vital game for the Oranje.

PROBABLE LINE-UPS

Netherlands: Cillessen; Van der Wiel, De Vrij, Martins Indi, Blind; Sneijder, Wijnaldum (Promes 80), Klaassen; Depay, Robben (Narsingh 31), Huntelaar (Bruma 40).

BOOKINGS: Van der Wiel 50, Sneijder 90+3.

SENT OFF: Martins Indi 33.

Iceland: Halldórsson; Saevarsson, Sigurdsson, Árnason, Skúlason; Bjarnason, Sigurdsson, Bödvarsson (Finnbogason 78), Gunnarsson (Skulason 87); Gudmundsson, Sigthorsson (Gudjohnsen 64).

GOALS: Sigurdsson 51P.

BOOKINGS: Sigthorsson 33, Arnason 58, Saevarsson 80.

Name-SamMay

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Euro 2016 Qualifier Preview – Netherlands vs. Iceland

The Netherlands are back in European 2016 Qualifying action and will be hoping to get back to winning ways on Thursday night when they take on Lars Lagerback and Heimir Hallgrimsson’s Group A leaders Iceland at the Amsterdam ArenA.

The 19:45 (BST) kick off will see new Dutch manager Danny Blind take to the touchline – he served as assistant to Guus Hindink who resigned on August 1st paving way for Blind to make the step up to manager.

The former international defender has had enough preparation time to prepare his squad and make the necessary changes needed to help his side succeed and progress. One of the main changes Blind has put in place was to hand the captaincy to Arjen Robben replacing vice-captain Robin Van Persie.

Blind has been impressed with Van Persie’s response to his decision stating: “I think Robben brings a lot of enthusiasm”. He added: “I was impressed with how Van Persie responded, he was very professional. For Robin, only one thing counts. He wants to go to the European Championships.”

Van Persie has since responded to the change stating: “Of course, I am disappointed but a new coach can always choose a new leader, that is his right. I’m glad I’m still second captain”.

Both sides have previously met in October 2014 when two goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson were enough to give Iceland a 2-0 victory over the Oranje. The Netherlands currently sit third with ten points in Group A having won three, drawn one and losing two of their matches. Meanwhile, Iceland have won five of their games, losing just one to the Czech Republic back in November 2014.

Iceland have a number of familiar faces in their squad, with former Ajax striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson set to start up front, while ex-Heerenveen striker Alfred Finnbogason and former-AZ winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson are also in with a chance of playing. All will be hoping to make their mark in Thursday’s mouth watering encounter.

Iceland midfielder Emil Hallfredsson is out having picked up a muscle tear in Verona’s 2-0 defeat of Genoa earlier this week.

Blind’s son Daley is set to start at his favoured left-back position replacing the injured Jetro Willems, whilst the experienced Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Luuk De Jong are set to battle it out for a place in the starting 11.

PROBABLE LINE-UPS

Netherlands 4-3-3: Cillessen; Van der Wiel, Blind, De Vrij, Martins Indi; De Jong, Sneijder, Wijnaldum; Depay, Robben, Van Persie.

Iceland 4-3-2-1: Halldorsson; B Bjarnason, Skulason, Sigurdsson, Gislason; Gunnarsson, Sigurosson, T Bjarnason; Gudmundsson, Boovarsson; Sigthorsson.

REFEREE

Milorad Mazic (Serbia)

PREDICTION

Netherlands 2-1 Iceland

Name-SamMay

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EURO 2016 QUALIFIER: Czech Rep 2-1 Netherlands

CZENED

CZECH REPUBLIC 2-1 NETHERLANDS

Dire Defending from the Dutch costs them as Guus Hiddink’s first game ends in defeat and the Dutch lose a qualification game for the first time in nearly three years reports Ryan O’Grady.

The Road to France starts here and even though the Dutch are favourites to progress from their qualification group it won’t be straightforward. In their group they face tough games against teams like Turkey, Iceland and tonight’s opponents the Czech Republic. Turkey will be a tough opponent with players such as Arda Turan, Hakan Çalhanoğlu and even Nuri Şahin if he can recover from his injuries. Iceland will also be tough opponents as they only just missed out on this year’s World Cup after losing their play-off to Croatia and have dangerous players like Gylfi Sigurdsson and Alfred Finnbogason. The rest of the group is made up by Latvia and Kazakhstan where the Dutch should definitely pick up maximum points.

Tonight’s opponents are no walkovers either having qualified for the last Euros in 2012 but they are in something of a rebuild and haven’t recorded a victory in their last 4 games under their new coach Pavel Vrba. The Dutch are coming off the back of a very positive World Cup where they surpassed their own expectations but this positivity has been somewhat dampened by their recent loss to Italy where they were completely outclassed and didn’t record a single shot on target. That game was Hiddink’s first in his second spell as national team manager and saw him use a back four. Today’s game however saw the Dutch start with three centre-backs and two wingbacks, a system used under previous manager Louis van Gaal.

The opening 10 minutes of this game saw the Czech showing the Dutch players respect as they sat back not wanting to get caught out and as a result there were no chances in the opening period. However after the first 10 minutes the Czech Republic came out of their shell and were more forthcoming in attack. First Krejci had a decent cross into the box cleared well by Nigel de Jong for a corner. The Czechs took it short and worked it well and eventually the ball fell to Darida inside the box and his shot was blocked for a corner. Memphis Depay was by far the Netherlands’ best player in the first half and in the 14th minute he wiggled his way past a couple of defenders before giving the ball out to Daryl Janmaat on the right wing before the Newcastle defender crossed it for Robin van Persie and his flicked shot was deflected behind for a corner that came to nothing. Czech striker David Lafata appeared to suffer a serious head injury when he was caught on the jaw by an accidental knee from Stefan de Vrij. He went on to recover and was heavily involved in the next passage of play that resulted in a goal for the Czech Republic. Lafata received the ball inside the box with his back to goal and had Bruno Martins Indi behind him. His first touch was brilliant and with his second touch he laid the ball off to Bořek Dočkal who struck it beautifully first time and it hit the inside of the post before just sneaking inside the other post in the 21st minute. The Dutch had a really good chance to reply only 4 minutes later when Daley Blind supplied a sublime cross into the box that Georginio Wijnaldum ran onto but the bounce was a bit high and the PSV midfielder could only put it over with an outstretched leg. The Czech Republic had clearly worked on set-pieces on the training ground as nearly every single one caught out the Dutch defence, in the 30th minute they had a free kick that was played across the edge of the box and Darida allowed the ball to run through his legs before Limberský followed up with a shot that looked good but was blocked inside the box. The Dutch then had another guilt-edged chance to equalise only a minute later as Janmaat put in a low cross that van Persie looked like he was going to hit but then for some reason he left and it clearly surprised Petr Čech but he managed to stick a leg out and clear it although it wasn’t heading in. Hiddink clearly wasn’t happy with the way things were panning out and in the 38th minute he brought off Joel Veltman for Luciano Narsingh to revert back to a traditional 4-3-3 employed in the previous game against Italy.  Depay then had a brilliant shot from distance that was destined for the corner of the net before Čech pushed it over. Substitute Narsingh also had a late chance in the half as he received the ball in the 6-yard box but it was at an awkward height and he couldn’t get any power on his shot and it was easily cleared.

The Dutch came out in the second half much the better side and in the 52nd minute Wesley Sneijder put through Depay with a wonderful ball but centre back Provcházka recovered well and won a goal kick for his side. Only 2 minutes later the Dutch equalised, an initial Dutch corner was half dealt with by the defence but Blind reintroduced the ball and De Vrij rose above the defence and sent a header across goal into the corner of the net. The Czechs then had another decent free kick, this the ball landed in the box and it looked like Provcházka was going to hit before Martins Indi recovered and put him off. For the next 10 minutes or so the only notable occurrences were substitutions from the Czech Republic. The Dutch had a great chance in the 78th minute to go ahead when Narsingh put in a lofted ball that Depay got his head to but it was easily saved by Čech because rather than putting any power behind his header, Depay appeared to just let the ball bounce off his head. This miss was almost punished from another set-piece from the Czech Republic, this time a short corner was put in by Darida and Kaderabek headed it on before Provcházka put it over from about 1 yard out with his header. This miss didn’t cost his side dearly however because at the beginning of stoppage time Limberský put in a cross that Janmaat attempted to head back to Cillessen but instead hit his own post before coming back across the goal behind the diving Cillessen and allowed substitute Pilař to snatch victory right at the death.

TEAMS

Czech Republic: Čech, Provcházka, Kadlec, Limberský, Rosický, Vácha (Kolář 81’), Dočkal (Pilař 66’), Krejci, Darida, Kaderabek, Lafata (Vydra 72’)

Goals: Dočkal 21’, Pilař 90+1’

Bookings: Provcházka 8’, Limberský 90+3’

Netherlands: Cillessen, Janmaat, Veltman (Narsingh 38’), de Vrij, Martins Indi, Sneijder, de Jong, Wijnaldum, Blind, van Persie, Depay

Goals: De Vrij 55’

Bookings: Martins Indi 71’

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TotalDutchFootball.com    WorldFootballWeekly.com

Hiddink returns as Oranje head coach

Guus Hiddink was introduced today as the new Netherlands coach to lead Oranje into the European Championship 2016 qualifiers. The 67-year-old has vowed that he will compile a team that will play “attractive but practical football” writes Will Burns.

New Oranje head coach Hiddink (centre) poses with assistants van Nistelrooy (right) and Blind (left).

Hiddink has already had a spell as head coach of his country in 1995 for a three-year tenure and is well coveted inside the Netherlands. He led PSV Eindhoven to a record-breaking six Eredivisie championships and four KNVB Bekers but, perhaps his greatest achievement, was taking underdogs South Korea, to a last four finish in their own backyard at the 1998 World Cup finals.

Hiddink has been named to replace Louis van Gaal earlier this year as Van Gaal had stated he wished to return to club management and later accepted the manager’s job at Manchester United. Hiddink has large shoes to fill as Van Gaal himself pulled off a great World Cup feat himself this summer, leading Oranje to third place and bronze medal in Brazil.

As the KNVB unveiled Hiddink, he said at the press conference: “First and foremost, bravo to the team, both the players and the technical staff who worked under Louis van Gaal.” He added: “There will not be many changes, I felt great enthusiasm on starting my first official day of work today.”.

Hiddink stated that he wished to keep faith in the ‘Dutch school’ while also hoping to maintain the “instinct of survival” that Van Gaal had established inside the team.

Hiddink has been out of coaching work since leaving Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in July last year, but at the end of last season acted as a consultant for Philip Cocu at PSV.

The deal Hiddink has signed with the KNVB runs through to the end of the 2016 European Championships in France, after which he will be replaced by current assistant Danny Blind. His other assistant will be former Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy.

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TotalDutchFootball.com    WorldFootballWeekly.com