Netherlands miss World Cup 2018: How Holland failed to qualify for Russia tournament

Vaishali Bhardwaj
Heartbreak | Arjen Robben scored twice to secure a 2-0 win over Sweden: AFP/Getty Images

The Netherlands are not at the Fifa World Cup 2018 in Russia after failing to qualify for their second straight major tournament.

Back in October, the Oranje needed to beat Sweden in their final qualifier by seven clear goals in order to leapfrog their opponents into the play-off spot.

And despite winning 2-0, it wasn't enough to prevent Sweden from securing a play-off spot with a second-placed finish in Group A, while France topped the group thanks to their 2-1 home win over Belarus in Paris.

Holland's failure to qualify for the tournament is a far cry from eight years ago when the Dutch reached the World Cup final in South Africa, losing 1-0 to Spain after extra-time.

They followed that up with a disastrous 2012 European Championships in Poland and Ukraine as the team lost all three of their group matches, failing to reach the knockout stages of the competition.

Then Netherlands did, however, book their place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil where they won all of their group matches, including a memorable 5-1 victory over Spain.

After further group-stage wins over Australia and Chile, the Dutch reached the semi-finals but were beaten by finalists Argentina on penalties.

Things then went downhill for Holland thereafter with the nation failing to qualify for the 2016 European Championships in France and, now, the 2018 World Cup.

Dick Advocaat’s side had looked positive early on in qualification for the finals - with the Oranje starting off the campaign with a 1-1 draw away to Sweden and a 4-1 win against Belarus.

But a 1-0 defeat at home to France in October 2016, a costly loss to Bulgaria in March 2017, plus a 4-0 defeat to France in Paris five months later left their chances of qualifying in doubt.

Despite beating Belarus 3-1 on Saturday, it was Sweden's 8-0 thrashing of Luxembourg the same night that meant the Dutch fell into third place in Group A on goal difference.