Holland head coach Blind believes in great escape

Amsterdam, Oct 13 (IANS) The national football team of the Netherlands is about to miss a major tournament for the first time in 14 years, but head coach Danny Blind is still hopeful.

“It is still possible,” said Blind during a press conference in Amsterdam on Monday. “We have to look at what we still can achieve,” reports Xinhua.

With 13 points from nine matches the “Oranje” currently holds the fourth place in Euro 2016 qualifying Group A, two points behind Turkey.

With Iceland (20) and the Czech Republic (19) already certain of a place at the final tournament in France the Dutch and the Turks will decide on the third place, which means qualification for the play-offs.

The Netherlands last failed to qualify for a European Championship in 1984. The last time Holland missed a major tournament was the 2002 World Cup.

“Our results have been disappointing. However, we still have a small chance,” added Blind, who succeeded Guus Hiddink in July, but was not able to cause a turnaround.

The Netherlands need a win on Tuesday in Amsterdam against the Czech Republic, while at the same time Turkey has to lose at home against Iceland.

If Turkey gets a point, it will continue in the play-offs even if the Dutch beat the Czechs. In the latter case both teams finish on 16 points, but Turkey was better in the matches played among the teams in question, 1-1 in Amsterdam, 3-0 win last month in Konya.

“In sports one can lose or one can win,” Blind continued.

“That is the case for us, but also for the other side. I still believe Turkey could lose against Iceland. For us only one scenario is currently important. We need a win. Afterwards we will look what happened in Turkey.”

The Netherlands will probably start with almost the same team as in last Saturday’s 2-1 at Kazakhstan in Astana.

The main question is who will be the goalkeeper. First choice Jasper Cillessen withdrew during the warming-up in Astana with a back injury, while his replacement Tim Krul limped off with a knee injury in the 81st minute. Third choice Jeroen Zoet therefor finished the match against Kazakhstan.

According to Blind the 24-year-old PSV player Zoet is also “the most logic choice” against the Czech Republic, but he could also choose for the more experienced Maarten Stekelenburg (33) and Kenneth Vermeer (29), who were called up instead of Cillessen and Krul for the final match in Euro 2016 qualifying Group A.

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