Nothing less than three points will do as Guus Hiddinck aims to steer his charges to a much-needed win against Latvia on Sunday
Hiddink has a reputation as one of Europe’s top coaches, however he has struggled to replicate the success of his predecessor Louis van Gaal who took his side to the semi-finals of the World Cup this summer.
The new coach has lost all but one of his opening five matches since he took charge including two Euro 2016 qualifying games. The Dutch lost at the Czech Republic as well as a shock defeat at the hands of a high-flying Iceland side. Their latest outing involved a 3-2 defeat at home to Mexico, a side who they had previously beaten in the World Cup.
Obviously, things are far from rosy in the Netherlands camp, however it would be a huge shock should they fail to clinch the points against Latvia this weekend. Hiddink’s sole victory in the hot-seat was a defeat of Kazakhstan in Group A and there is little reason to believe that they will fail to emulate that triumph on this occasion.
Indeed, a win is a necessity with both Iceland and the Czech republic flying high in the group with perfect records, both sides some six points ahead of the Dutch as the half-way stage of proceedings is rapidly approached. Nevertheless, the Netherlands remain favourites to turn things around and qualify for the finals as group winners.
Ok so at this stage things are far from desperate, however recent results are a long way from acceptable and Hiddink will be eager to witness the home win which would go some way towards restoring some confidence in the side.
These two sides have met before on only one occasion, the Dutch triumphing 3-0 on their way to the Euro 2004 semi-finals. Latvia are not expected to reach the finals this time around, suffering a defeat to Iceland and drawing with Kazakhstan and Turkey to date.
Should the Netherlands be at their best, they will win this match with ease. Should they lose or even draw, Hiddink may well be a worried man.
Our betting tips
Netherlands to win 2-0 – BetVictor 6/1
First Goalscorer, Robin van Persie – Paddy Power 4/1