Guus Hiddink will have no reason to resign as Netherlands coach as his players put in the best performance of his reign to hammer Latvia 6-0 to put themselves right back in group A of the Euro 2016 qualifiers. 

  • By Michael Bell
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robbenlatnedAll the talk before the match was on Hiddink, who stated he would resign as coach if they lost to Latvia, and the 68-year-old showed his intent prior to the match by confirming Klaas jan Huntelaar and Robin van Persie would start up front together.

The Dutch started the match in what looked a conventional 4-4-2, and they could have been ahead within the first two minutes as Ibrahim Afellay, starting on the left wing, struck the post with a curling shot. The home crowd didn’t have to wait long for the deadlock to be broken as a pinpoint cross from Arjen Robben found Robin van Persie in the box and the forward found the net with a header.

Netherlands defence was at fault for the defeat to Mexico on Wednesday and some poor marking at the back almost allowed Latvia to equalise, but Valerijs Sabala could only send a free header wide of the goal.

Ten minutes before the break Netherlands had their second of the evening with Robben playing a one-two with Van Persie before sending an excellent shot into the top corner. It was 3-0 before the beak when Huntelaar prodded Afellay’s cross in from close range and the pressure on the Dutch side was lifted.

The second half started in frustrating fashion as Netherlands couldn’t covert chance after chance, with Robben striking the bar with a free kick, but on 72 minutes Van Persie flicked a corner into the path of Jeffrey Bruma and the defender tapped in for 4-0.

A trademark strike from Robben after cutting in from the right made it 5-0, and just before full time Huntelaar surpassed Dennis Bergkamp as Netherlands 3rd all time top scorer as he found the bottom corner after a great team move to round off the 6-0 win.

Netherlands final match of 2014 ends a mostly successful year with victory and eases the pressure on Hiddink, who will now almost certainly be in charge when they face Turkey next March. The win means Netherlands are three points behind Iceland and Czech Republic who face each other later on Sunday

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