Holland see off Belarus but need miracle after Sweden's rout of Luxembourg

  • Holland see off Belarus but need miracle after Sweden's rout of Luxembourg

Holland see off Belarus but need miracle after Sweden's rout of Luxembourg

A 4-0 thrashing in France in August appeared to end the Netherlands' hopes, but a 3-1 victory over Bulgaria three days later kept them in the hunt.

The Oranje sit third place in their group, but while a 3-1 defeat of Belarus on Sunday means they are three points behind Janne Andersson's side, their 8-0 result puts them in a commanding position on goal difference.

The Netherlands will be hoping for a miracle when they welcome Sweden to the Amsterdam ArenA for Tuesday's final World Cup qualifier.

But even two straight wins might not be enough, with Sweden holding a superior goal difference (+11) to the three-time World Cup runners-up (+5).

"The reality is it's very hard, but it's not over, " Advocaat told NOS.

"They're not going to win 8-0, what kind of stupid question is that?"

The hosts are without attacking trio Quincy Promes, Robin vanPersie and Sneijder for Tuesday's crunch match while Sweden right-back Mikael Lustig is out after going off injured against Luxembourg on Saturday.

This prompted one reporter to ask Advocaat whether he was anxious Sweden would run up a large score against a much smaller Luxembourg side, who had only won one of their previous eight qualification matches. There will never be 8-0.

They failed to qualify for the European Championship in France a year ago and now appear virtually certain of being absent for a second major tournament in succession.

The Netherlands remains at risk of failing to qualify, after finishing third at the 2014 World Cup, and second in 2010.

The former Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur manager was ruthless in his assessment of their fall from "Total Football" to total joke. We lost identity. Our identity was always good organisation and offensive style.

"In the first half we did not have many opportunities".

"In Holland, our philosophy was to be different".