Netherlands coach Danny Blind holds out hope of backdoor escape

Netherlands coach hopeful of backdoor escape
By Reuters

12/10/2015 at 14:34Updated 12/10/2015 at 14:46

Netherlands coach Danny Blind is clinging to the hope that Turkey will lose at home on Tuesday and offer the Dutch a backdoor route to Euro 2016.

The Netherlands, third at the World Cup last year, can only make next month's playoffs if Turkey lose at home to Group A leaders Iceland on Tuesday while they beat the second-placed Czech Republic at home in Amsterdam in their final match.

With Iceland and the Czechs guaranteed the top two places - and automatic qualification for the finals in France - Turkey and the Dutch are battling for third spot and a playoff berth.

Turkey are third with 15 points and have a two-point lead over the Netherlands, who can only finish above them if they win and the Turks lose because the Dutch have a worse head-to-head record and would miss out if the teams were level on points.

"We have to win and we are focused on that and then hope the other match result works out for us," said Blind at Monday's pre-match news conference.

The Dutch had hoped they would leapfrog Turkey on Saturday when they beat Kazakhstan 2-1 away but the Turks secured a surprise 2-0 win over the Czechs in Prague the same night.

"That was a big disappointment for us," added Blind. "But we are still alive and that's what we must focus on. It's actually the same situation that we had before Saturday's matches but this is our last chance."

Blind conceded the chances of Turkey stumbling at home were slim. "But I believe they will (lose). But more than that I will not obsess about that game. We must win and that's the only thing that I can influence."

Blind took over in August from Guus Hiddink, who quit after the Netherlands' poor results in the group. However, Blind's first two games last month saw an embarrassing home defeat by Iceland and then a 3-0 thumping in Turkey.

Asked what he would do if the Dutch did not qualify, he told reporters: "I will not talk now about what is in the future. That is for later."