Netherlands conceded twice in the final eight minutes to draw 2-2 with Montenegro and throw away automatic qualification for the World Cup finals.
Louis van Gaal’s side went into the penultimate round of games with a narrow lead at the top of Group G, but Norway’s slip up at home to Latvia opened the door.
Things looked good as Memphis Depay scored a pair of goals to put the Dutch in command.
Koeman to replace Van Gaal as Netherlands manager after World Cup
06/04/2022 AT 10:26
The first came from the penalty spot on 25 minutes after Davy Klaassen had been felled in the box.
The Barcelona man netted the second on 54 minutes, turning home Denzel Dumfries’ cross at the near post to cap a swashbuckling Dutch move.
But just as they were contemplating their trip to Qatar, Ilija Vukotic scored a breakaway goal for Montenegro with eight minutes remaining, and shortly afterwards Nikola Vujnovic headed home as Van Gaal's side crumbled.
The Dutch have their destiny in their own hands, as they top Group G with 20 points - two clear of Turkey and Norway.
Norway's hopes of World Cup qualification took a severe dent as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Latvia.
Latvia are second-bottom of Group G, but were able to frustrate a Norwegian side who could pay for their lack of goals in qualifying - they have netted 15 times in nine games.
Norway’s failure to beat Latvia opened the door for Turkey, and their 6-0 home win over Gibraltar lifted them into second.
Turkey and Norway are level on 18 points, but the six-goal swing allowed the former to move second.
Norway face Netherlands in their final game, while Turkey travel to Montenegro with everything to play for.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s slim hopes of qualification were dashed with a home defeat at the hands of Finland. They can only get a maximum of 10 points and that will not be enough to get into the top two in Group D.
Van Gaal reveals prostate cancer diagnosis
03/04/2022 AT 22:04
International friendlies
Eriksen scores on Denmark comeback as Bergwijn brace leads Netherlands to win
26/03/2022 AT 19:05