A brutally honest Arjen Robben admits Netherlands have no chance of securing the miracle seven-goal victory over Sweden required to book a World Cup play-off berth.
The Oranje narrowly avoided elimination with a late 3-1 win in Belarus on Saturday, but the result means they remain little more than a mathematical chance of finishing second in Group A.
Sweden earlier romped to an 8-0 rout of Luxembourg to effectively kill off those chances, with Janne Andersson’s side boasting a three-point buffer and vastly superior goal difference ahead of their trip to Amsterdam on Tuesday.
And Robben, who scored an 84th-minute penalty to restore his side’s lead in Belarus, concedes the 2010 World Cup finalists are set to miss Russia 2018.
“This hurts. It is unfortunately part of the sport,” Robben told ONS.
“After Sweden’s result you can’t do anything else other than play with your chest out, but an 8-0 win in Belarus [was not going to] happen. And a 7-0 win at home to Sweden isn’t going to happen.
“When you hear [Sweden won] 8-0, that’s a big blow.
“In the first half we did not have many opportunities.”
35 – Arjen Robben has equalled Faas Wilkes and Ruud van Nistelrooy (35 goals) as joint 5th top goalscorer of the Dutch national team. Hero. pic.twitter.com/M3XVnhbZ9r
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) October 7, 2017
However, Netherlands coach Dick Advocaat is refusing to give up the fight.
“The reality is that it will be very difficult, but it’s not over yet,” the 70-year-old said.
“We have to play another game. It is possible.”
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