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Sympathy for Dick Advocaat

Marcotti's Musings
 By Simon Kuper

Dutch stagnation is due to lack of new ideas, new managers at the top

You look at the Dutch team that achieved a pointless 2-0 victory over Sweden on Tuesday, while waving goodbye to qualification for next year's World Cup, and your first thought is: it's the B-team.

That would explain some of the underwhelming names on the team sheet: Lyon's Kenny Tete, Hertha Berlin's Karim Rekik and eternal journeyman Ryan Babel, who was once described by Gary Neville as always fighting with his own feet. But no: also in the team was Arjen Robben, the best Dutch player of this...

 By Tom Marshall

Mexico fan trolls Netherlands and Robben after World Cup exit

The investigation over why Netherlands have been so dire in this World Cup qualifying cycle will run deep. What happened to the footballing ideals of Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff? Why aren't the Dutch producing players like in bygone eras?

But for Mexican university student Jose Luis Mercado, it can all be broken down into one concept: karma.

Like many Mexico fans, Mercado remains upset at Arjen Robben's perceived dive to win a game-deciding penalty in the late stages of the round-of-16 tie against...

Hard to not feel for Dick Advocaat after goal difference proclamation

Dick Advocaat
Dick Advocaat was confident the Netherlands would be able to make up a small goal differential at home against Sweden.

Sometimes it must really feel as if fate is conspiring against you.

Take Dick Advocaat. Before Saturday, his Dutch team were chasing France and Sweden in Group A and despite a rollercoaster qualifying campaign, he still felt moderately bullish for a playoff place. After all, Sweden traveled to Amsterdam for the final group game and with the Netherlands three points back, they would control their destiny.

If both countries won their games Saturday -- Advocaat's men away to Belarus and the Swedes...

 By Chris Wright

Famous last words from Netherlands coach Dick Advocaat

A spiky news conference response given by Dick Advocaat came back to bite him on Saturday evening after Netherlands were dealt a huge blow in their fading quest to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Despite registering a 3-1 win over Belarus, the Dutch remain in third place in Group A, needing a win and a huge swing in goal difference in their final qualifying fixture if they have any hope of booking a berth in Russia.

This is because second-placed Sweden thrashed Luxembourg 8-0 on the same night --...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

European World Cup qualifying - how Netherlands can still make Russia

Wesley Sneijder
Wesley Sneijder and the Netherlands will need to score many goals to have a chance to reach the finals.

The final rounds of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup take place between Oct. 5 and Oct. 10.

The nine group winners qualify automatically, with the other four places decided by playoffs between the eight best runners-up.

Group A: 3. Netherlands, 13 points (a-Belarus, h-Sweden)

Three points behind Sweden and six goals worse off, Netherlands have an outside chance of the playoffs. They will likely have to defeat Sweden by at least three goals.

Click here for other UEFA teams' qualifying chances.

Luxembourg and Syria lead the way as Argentina, Netherlands, U.S. struggle

Jorge Sampaoli was frustrated Argentina couldn't make the most of Lionel Messi as they laboured to a draw versus Venezuela.

We have reached the stage of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers when it all feels like a local long distance charity race. The favourites, Brazil, crossed the line ages ago; Iran and Japan joined them soon after; we've politely applauded Mexico, Belgium, South Korea and Saudi Arabia and now we're anxiously looking down the track wondering where everyone else has gone.

Spain are striding effortlessly towards us; Costa Rica, grinning broadly, are right behind them. And, look... there's England, clad in...