Turkey beats Netherlands to go 3rd in qualifying Group A
KONYA, Turkey (AP) — The Netherlands' chances of qualifying for the 2016 European Championship slipped further away Sunday as the team that finished third at last year's World Cup crashed to a 3–0 defeat in Turkey, while Iceland qualified for its first ever major tournament.
The resounding victory in Konya meant that Turkey overtook the Dutch in the race for third place in Group A. The Netherlands now trails Turkey by two points, with two games left to play.
"We no longer have our fate in our own hands," coach Danny Blind told Dutch broadcaster NOS.
Iceland earned a 0-0 draw at home to Kazakhstan to make a slice of history with its first appearance in a major competition, and will be joined in France next year by the Czech Republic after its 2-1 win over Latvia.
Both sides have 19 points — seven more than Turkey. The two teams in each group qualify automatically, along with the best third-place team, while the eight other sides to finish third go to a playoff round.
"We advanced because we collected points on a regular basis," Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech said. "The team proved it is hungry for success."
Dutch-born midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup put Turkey 1-0 up in the eighth minute, running onto a defense-splitting pass from Arda Turan and deftly chipping the ball over Jasper Cillessen.
The Netherlands almost handed Turkey its second. Daley Blind failed to control a 26th-minute throw in, and was then muscled off the ball by Turan, whose shot Cillessen should have saved.
"If you give away goals so easily, you sell yourself short," Blind's father and coach said.
Burak Yilmaz completed the Dutch humiliation by scoring a late third for the hosts, firing through the legs of defender Jairo Riedewald.
The Netherlands was without injured captain Arjen Robben and Blind gave Ajax defender Riedewald his international debut to replace Bruno Martins Indi, who was suspended after being sent off last Thursday in his team's 1-0 defeat to Iceland.
On the rare occasions that the 1988 European champions did threaten Turkey's defense, the team's finishing let it down.
Right winger Luciano Narsingh shot straight at goalkeeper Volkan Babacan in the 14th with Memphis Depay and Wesley Sneijder both free in front of goal. Davy Klaassen twice failed to get headers on target after good crosses by Depay and substitute Georginio Wijnaldum headed another Depay cross wide when all alone in front of goal five minutes into the second half.
"This whole qualification campaign has been incredibly difficult," Van Persie said. "We still have a chance, but it is no longer in our hands and that is terrible."