Holland 2-0 Sweden: A stunning Arjen Robben double is not enough for Dick Advocaat's side as their World Cup dream is ended in Amsterdam
No miracle, then. Holland could not rise hup hup from the depths. The mission was impossible as the Dutch privately conceded it was after the previous round of games.
- Holland began their final World Cup qualifier needing to beat Sweden by at least seven goals in Amsterdam
- Manchester United's Victor Lindelof kicked the ball into his own hand and gifted the Dutch a penalty
- Arjen Robben stepped up to the plate and his deft chip down the middle was just enough to beat Robin Olsen
- It was the Bayern Munich man who produced again, smashing home from outside the box before half-time
- But it was not enough as the hosts fell five goals short of claiming second place in the Group A table
An attack led by Tottenham misfit Vincent Janssen could not plunder seven against Sweden, who serenaded their hosts with a lesser-heard “bright-side of life” chorus and move into next month’s play-offs.
They gave it a good go did Dick Advocaat’s team, especially in the first-half, blissfully free at last from the weight of expectation and with Arjen Robben producing a sublime reminder of his qualities.
But, on the night, the task was simply too great. This Oranje arrived pre-crushed, out of the World Cup before the party started and sparking a cascade of questions, not least who provides the techno in Russia.
Ultimately, they were ousted by losing twice to France (no disgrace there), once to Bulgaria and failing to punish the minnows from Belarus and Luxembourg.
Holland took four points Sweden, slide out on goal difference and no-one came to the Amsterdam Arena to vent their anger on the first Holland team to miss the World Cup finals since 2002.
Supporters cheered them over the line and applauded their efforts at the end.
Some came out of habit, head-to-toe in orange, as ever, and some came in tribute to Robben on his 96th and possibly final appearance for his country.
Robben has yet to confirm whether he intends to extend his international career but, at 33, the last of the Dutch masters still standing has earned a break from carrying this team.
And his lap of honour after the match with his children pointed towards a farewell.
He set out to lead with courage, demanding the ball and running at the Swedes, winning free-kicks and taking them all.
Robben missed the game’s first chance, heading over, before converting a penalty awarded when Manchester United’s Victor Lindelhof somehow contrived to kick the ball into his own hand.
Robben’s dink from the spot was not a clean connection but it found a way past goalkeeper Robin Olsen.
No-one came in expectation of a famous goal-rush but they saw their team having a go. “Roar like a lion, fight like a beast,” said one banner.
The damage was already done and the irony of an early goal by Luxembourg against Bulgaria did not escape those present.
Sweden’s eight goals against Luxembourg on Saturday put them in control of the runners-up spot in Group A.
They knew anything better than a seven-goal defeat would do and the healthy margin for error coupled with Holland’s frenzied mood of desperation seemed briefly to confound Jan Andersson’s team.
HOLLAND (4-3-3): Cillesen 6; Tete 6, Van Dijk 6, Rekik 6, Ake 6.5; Vilhena 7, Blind 6, Wijnaldum 6 (Klaasen 71, 5); Robben 8, Janssen 6 (Dost 46, 5), Babel 6.5
SUBS NOT USED: Veltman, Hoedt, De Ligt, Depay, Stekelenburg, Zoet, Van Ginkel, Van de Beek
GOALS: Robben 16', 40'
MANAGER: Dick Advocaat 6
SWEDEN: Olsen 6.5; Lustig 6, Grandqvist 6, Lindelhof 5, Augustinsson 5; Claesson 5 (Svensson 67, 5), Larsson 6 (M.Olsson 81), Johansson 6, Forsberg 5; Berg 5, Toivonen 5 (Thelin 76)
SUBS NOT USED: Johnsson, Helander, Holmen, Rohden, Krafth, Ekdal, Guidetti, Nordfeldt, Sema
MANAGER: Jan Andersson 6
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4967566/Holland-2-0-Sweden-Arjen-Robben-double-not-enough.html#ixzz4v8qjnr96
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