Dutch can find courage in failure to qualify

By Jonathan White Source:Global Times Published: 2015-10-16 5:03:03

Van Persie and co not the first big team to miss out on European showpiece


Netherlands' Robin van Persie (No.19) reacts during the Euro 2016 qualifying match against the Czech Republic in Amsterdam on Tuesday. Photo: AFP

The Netherlands went out of Euro 2016 with defeat to the Czech Republic on Tuesday as Robin van Persie's miserable season continued. The former Manchester United and Arsenal striker was the fall guy in a 3-2 defeat to the Silesians, scoring an own goal that put the visitors 3-0 to the good. 

This failure comes just a year after Louis van Gaal's team came third at the 2014 World Cup, destroying world champions Spain in the group stages. Since then, despite having a very similar squad to call upon, current Netherlands coach Danny Blind's attempts at qualifying went to pot.

The Netherlands have previous history in disappointing in qualification for major tournaments. They missed out on the 1982, 1986 and 2002 World Cups and the 1984 European Championship. The good news for them is that they are far from the only one of Europe's dominant soccer nations who have failed - and it hasn't necessarily held them back, unless you count England.

Portugal (Euro 1968)

Eusebio was one of the finest ­players in world soccer at the tail end of the 1960s but not even the Black Pearl could prevent the Portuguese from dropping points against lesser lights in the form of Sweden, Denmark and Bulgaria. The Portuguese had finished the 1966 World Cup as the third-best team in the world with Eusebio top scorer.

Record since: European Championship runners-up (2004)

West Germany (Euro 1968)

The second-best team in the world just two years earlier - and that came after extra time and the assistance of a Russian linesman - the West Germans crashed out of a group containing just three teams following defeat to Yugoslavia.

Record since: World Cup winners (1974, 1990, 2014), World Cup runners-up (1982, 1986, 2002), European Championship winners (1972, 1980, 1996), European Championship runners-up (1976, 1992, 2008)

Italy (Euro 1984)

The World Cup holders failed to make the subsequent European Championship after struggling in a group topped by unfancied Romania. Global legends such as Dino Zoff and Paolo Rossi were denied another opportunity to cement their place amongst the best in the world.

Record since: see below

France (Euro 1988)

France had won the 1984 European Championship at home, having become the first team to win all their group stage games, but that counted for nought when they tried to make the tournament in West Germany. A team including such attacking talents as Luis Fernandez, Jean Tigana and three-time Ballon d'Or winner Michel Platini managed just four goals in qualifying and finished behind both the Soviet Union and East Germany. The French only beat Iceland along the way to an embarrassing mid-table finish in a group rounded out by Norway. The lowlights came in home defeats to the top two teams in Group Three.

Record since: World Cup ­winners (1998), World Cup runners up (2006), European Championship winners (2000)

Italy (Euro 1992)

Times were different in the 1990s when the Euro Finals were made up of just eight teams and such luminaries as Franco Baresi, Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Baggio and Gianluca Vialli missed out on a trip to Sweden in the summer of 1992. They failed to beat the Soviet Union to first place in a group containing Norway, Hungary and Cyprus. Just two years later the Italians were the second-best team in the world.

Record since: World Cup winners (2006), World Cup runners-up (1994), European Championship runners-up (2000, 2012)

Russia (Euro 2000)

The Russians failed to qualify for their second Euros in a row despite having a team containing Valeri Karpin and a goalless Aleksandr ­Mostovoi. Losing their first three games didn't help but Russia still failed to overcome rivals Ukraine and eventual winners France, whom they beat in Paris, in Group Four. Iceland, Armenia and bottom-placed Andorra were the other teams who stood in the way of Russia but an 87th-minute Andriy Schevchenko equalizer in the final group game put paid to their chances as they finished a point ­behind Ukraine and two points behind the team who went on to win the tournament co-hosted by Belgium and the Netherlands.

Record since: European Championship third place (2008)

England (Euro 2008)

Steve McLaren's career stalled after his "Wally with the Brolly" moment in the final game of Group E when England lost at home to Croatia. They finished in third behind Russia and Croatia in an easy group containing Israel, Macedonia, Estonia and whipping boys Andorra. England's misery was compounded by a Scott Carson error in their last game as a Nico Krancjar shot squirmed under the keeper at Wembley en route to an historic 3-2 away victory for Croatia that took the newly formed nation through, as their manager cowered in the rain.

Record since: European Championship quarterfinals (2012)

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