Iceland beat the 10-man Netherlands 1-0 on Thursday to take a big step toward qualifying for next year’s European Championship.
The Dutch were reduced to ten men after Bruno Martins Indi was sent off in the first half.
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s second-half penalty sealed a win that consolidated Iceland’s position at the top of Group A, while Netherlands need a win when they travel to Turkey.
Their poor campaign resulted in the resignation of coach Guus Hiddink back in June, and Thursday’s encounter with Iceland will be his successor Danny Blind’s first game in charge of any side since a short stint with Ajax a decade ago.
The Dutchman oversaw a third group stage defeat in Amsterdam that leaves the 2014 World Cup semi-finalists at risk of missing the tournament in France next summer. With just three games still to play, they find themselves four points off the pace of third-place Israel, in the race for Group B’s playoff place. Remember, Iceland do already have a win under their belts against the Netherlands during qualification.
“We have one more chance on Sunday”.
With this victory, Iceland remains the leader in Group A and is close to qualifying for UEFA EURO 2016 participation. Croatia and Italy are tied at the top of Group H with 15 points, although the former is first thanks to its superior +7 goal differential, with Norway two points behind.
The Dutch certainly have an array of talent at their disposal, with Premier League new boys Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay names that come to mind, never mind proven stars like Arjen Robben. “Of course you can’t look past something like this – for yourself as a person it’s a great honour – but we have only one goal and that’s to reach the EURO”.
“We know what we have to do”, Bale said. Turkey are five points ahead of their visitors and are very much in contention for third place with just two points separating them from Holland.
“When I re-watch it I’ll be able to tell”, Pelle said. “But when I talk about details, I could mean the exact timing in terms of putting pressure on opponents, in which area of the pitch, by which players, and what distance from your own goal”.