When it was announced that as of the 2016 edition, the European Championship – or the Euro, in the common vernacular – would be expanded from 16 teams to 24, it was assumed that no major country would ever miss out on qualifying for the thing anymore. With the top two teams in each of the nine groups qualifying automatically and joined by the best third-placed country and the winners of eight playoff entrants, the margin of error seemed to have gotten so big that there was just no way to fail anymore.
The Netherlands, however, is working hard at making that assumption look silly. The Oranje, which placed third at last summer's World Cup by sometimes playing dazzling soccer, teeters on the brink of elimination before the big tournament has even begun.
New manager Danny Blind, whose appointment as Guus Hiddink's successor was accelerated by a year after the old master manager stumbled to a 3-2-1 record in qualifying, faced a must-win game of sorts against Iceland on Thursday. That is, ifRead More »from Euro 2016 qualifying: Dutch disappoint, Bale stars for Wales, Italy back on top