The pressure has been piled on Netherlands coach Guus Hiddink as his side were beaten 2-0 in Iceland to move six points off the top in Group A of the European Championship qualifiers.

icelandnedAgainst Kazakhstan on Friday a defensive error put the Dutch under pressure, before they eventually laboured to a 3-1 victory over the ten men. Hiddink decided to stick with the same eleven from that match to face Iceland, and stressed to his players that this was a much win game, with concentration and focus required.

However this message clearly didn’t reach the players as after nine minutes Stefan de Vrij needlessly trippedĀ Theodor Bjarnason in the box, after two attempts to clear the ball failed, and the referee pointed to the spot. Jasper Cillessen guessed the right way for Gylfi Sigurdsson’s spot kick, but his reaction was so slow that the ball was already in the net by the time he had made his dive.

The goal woke Netherlands up, with Robin van Persie latching onto an excellent pass from Arjen Robben, but he could’t beat the goalkeeper from a tight angle. Minutes later an excellent cross from Daley Blind found Arjen Robben free in the box, but the winger could only head wide.

Three minutes before the break Netherlands were once again guilty of a lack of concentration, as they allowed a corner to bounce in the box, and after a scramble Sigurdsson volleyed into the roof of the net. Iceland were 2-0 up at the break and on verge of their first ever victory over Netherlands after ten previous attempts failed.

Hiddink brought Klaas jan Huntelaar off the bench at half time and went with two up top for the second half, but strangely decided to bring off Wesley Sneijder instead of the more defensive Nigel de Jong. Without Sneijder Netherlands seemed to lack ideas in midfield, and although they had two strikers on the pitch, the Dutch caused the Iceland backline no problems.

It was the home side who should have added more goals in the second half, but a last ditch challenge from Martins Indi prevented the scoreline from being even more embarrassing for Netherlands.

The defeat leaves Netherlands six points behind both Iceland and Czech Republic, but more worrying for fans of the Oranje was the performance that they witnessed, with the Dutch seemingly without a game plan. The midfield seemed to lack any ideas and were constantly forced to pass backwards instead of trying to unlock the Iceland defence, and even Arjen Robben seemed starved of any inspiration.

Questions will now be asked of the leadership of Hiddink, who was chosen to lead the Dutch ahead of Ronald Koeman in the summer, and if Netherlands fail to record victories in the two home matches in November against Mexico and Latvia, his position may become untenable.

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