The Netherlands will not participate in the European Championships next summer after a shocking qualifying campaign which saw the Oranje lose five out of ten matches. Michael Bell takes a look at who or what is to blame for the failure.

It was supposed to be an easy group for the World Cup semi-finalist’s but a stream of errors and bad decisions has seen the Dutch fail to qualify for the European Championships for the first time since 1984. That’s after UEFA expanded the competition to 24 teams and made it possible for places 1-3 in a group to qualify.

Below are the main people and reasons to blame for Netherlands demise over the past year:

van oostveen nedBert van Oostveen

The KNVB managing director was interviewed after the Czech defeat on Tuesday, and seemed defiant that he was not to blame for the crisis Netherlands finds themselves in now.

However he is the man who was behind the appointment of Guus Hiddink over Ronald Koeman after Louis van Gaal left, a decision that baffled everyone at the time, whilst he also decided upon Danny Blind as a successor.

The decision to appoint Blind so early was a crucial mistake with Netherlands clearly needing someone with more experience and leadership qualities when Hiddink’s reign came to an abrupt end.

Van Oostveen was also responsible for the appointment of Adrie Koster at Netherlands U21’s. A decision which led to Jong Oranje missing last summer’s Euros. A tournament which could have been crucial for the development of the next generation who are now expected to take over from the likes of Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder.

Many people now believe Van Oostveen should be facing the sack, but will the KNVB act?

hiddinknedlatGuus Hiddink

He was the easy way out for the KNVB after Louis van Gaal left. They believed the man with all the experience of coaching national teams would surely take Netherlands through the qualifying campaign and teach his wisdom to his successor Danny Blind.

However what Netherlands got was a man out of touch with the modern game and too arrogant or stubborn to change his ways.

Van Gaal found success playing a counter attacking tactic at the World Cup, but Hiddink decided Netherlands should change back to their total voetbal ways and reinstated the 4-3-3. He clearly didn’t see that the Oranje no longer had the quality to control games the way they did in his first reign in charge back in 1996, and his decision was a disaster from the start.

Hiddink was eventually sacked, but after the losses to the Czech Republic and Iceland, and the draw at home to Turkey, the damage was already done.

blind press conferenceDanny Blind

After the horror of Hiddink’s reign in charge, the KNVB had no choice but to thrust Danny Blind into the position of head coach after already stating he would take over.

Sympathy must be given to the assistant coach for having to take over at such a difficult time, but he must also be at fault after failing to learn from Hiddink’s mistakes, and also making some mind-boggling decisions whilst in charge. The choice to play with no striker in the must win game v Iceland after going 1-0 down was truly baffling.

Blind is clearly out of his depth as a head coach, having only had once previous job in the position which was a turbulent year with Ajax, but he insists he is still the man to lead Netherlands forward.

After three defeats in four matches can Netherlands really take that chance with the World Cup qualifiers less than a year away?

oraczechRobin van Persie

It’s hard to believe how badly Van Persie’ career has tumbled since the World Cup last summer. He has gone from Manchester United star to Fenerbahce bench warmer and now looks out of his depth in the national team.

In a team lacking experience both Hiddink and Blind stuck by Van Persie as their captain, but the Netherlands all time top scorer could only muster two goals during the campaign, and his own goal v the Czech Republic summed up his dreadful year.

Van Persie stated after the Czech game that he would always be available for his country, but on current form he is more of a hindrance than help and his days in the national team may just be numbered.

robben ned inInjuries

Netherlands problems don’t just come down to individuals, and it’s hard not to sympathize with Danny Blind when he pointed out the number of injuries the Oranje had suffered.

For most of the campaign Netherlands have had to do without key players Rob Vlaar and Arjen Robben, while their best midfielder Kevin Strootman hasn’t played a single game for his country since 2013.

PSV left back Jetro Willems and Lazio centre back Stefan de Vrij were big misses during the final two qualifiers, while first choice goalkeepers Jasper Cillessen and Tim Krul missed the final qualifier.

Possible Netherlands XI of players currently injured: Cillessen, Janmaat, Willems, De Vrij, Vlaar, Clasie, Strootman, Klaassen, Promes, Robben, De Jong

It’s hard to see how any nation could cope with such a depth of injured players, especially with the lack of quality currently coming through in the Eredivisie.

If Netherlands had a fully fit Strootman and Robben for the whole campaign, it could have been very different.

jan czeIndividual errors

Looking back on the campaign two huge individual errors cost Netherlands dearly during the campaign.

Daryl Janmaat’s horror back pass to Jasper Cillessen in the first game cost Netherlands a point and got qualifying off to the worst possible start.

Also Bruno Martin’s Indi’s slap on Kolbeinn Sigthorsson in the must win game versus Iceland, which saw the defender sent off in a period where the Dutch were dominating. Iceland would eventually go on to win 1-0, a loss which was the most damaging in the campaign.

These individual errors arguably cost Netherlands four points, which would have put them in a much better place heading into the final game with the Czechs.

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