Arjen Robben Condemns Netherlands' 'Nightmare' Defeat Against Bulgaria in World Cup Qualifier

Even before being sacked, Netherlands manager Danny Blind admitted qualifying for Russian Federation 2018 would be a challenge.

Dutch newspapers pronounced the defeat a "debacle". "We were on the right track", he said.

Bulgaria tries to cause another major upset against the Netherlands when the Dutch come to Sofia (7:45 p.m UK Time). Bulgaria will take more precautions in the first half and count on Tonev to score goals.

This defeat against Bulgaria dropped Oranje to the fourth position in group A, which means that qualifying for the World Cup is still out of reach.

Netherlands captain Arjen Robben stuck by his coach after the match, saying the players were also responsible.

De Ligt was at fault for Bulgaria's opener; the teenager had actually only made 14 senior appearances for Ajax prior to his national call up, and his hesitant decision-making at the back gifted Delev the opportunity to bag his first goal. "With the amount of individual talent we have at our disposal, we have to show more", said Martinez.

The KNVB said it will now start the search for a permanent replacement.

In the Netherlands' last 15 qualifiers, be it for Euros or World Cup, their only wins have come against Kazakhstan, Latvia, Belarus and Luxembourg. "But because the results were not forthcoming, and because qualification for Russian Federation has gone poorly so far, we felt the need to take our leave of him", said KNVB director Jean Paul Decossaux.

Koeman, manager of Premier League club Everton, has told Dutch media he is not available.

Decossaux named the country's former manager Louis van Gaal as one of the men he would like to speak to about taking on an advisory role.

Decossaux revealed "all options are options" with regards to the prospect of eventually appointing a foreign coach, something which the KNVB have not done since Austrian Ernst Happel guided Holland to the 1978 World Cup final.

In case, if the Netherlands do not qualify for the World Cup this year, it will be the second big tournament in a row without the Dutch team.

  • Julie Sanders