NIGHT­MARE

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LUX­EM­BOURG: A rare starter for his club Ar­se­nal this sea­son, Olivier Giroud once again proved his worth to France when he bagged a dou­ble in their 3-1 win in Lux­em­bourg in a World Cup qual­i­fier on Satur­day.

The pow­er­ful striker’s 22nd and 23rd in­ter­na­tional goals lifted him to 10th on the list of France’s all-time top scor­ers after be­ing Les Bleus’ lead­ing marks­man in 2016.

“Even if he’s got dif­fi­cul­ties at his club, Olivier of­ten scores for place in the fi­nals in Rus­sia.

“What can I tell you? We came here with good in­ten­tions, but it has be­come a night­mare,” 33year-old Bay­ern Mu­nich winger Robben said.

“We win to­gether and we lose to­gether. Now we’ll get shit all over us. It’s sad. I’m speech­less. The first half was shock­ing.”

Bul­garia stunned the Dutch with two goals in the first 20 min­utes, both com­ing from Spas Delev who opened his in­ter­na­tional ac­count.

Delev pounced on a mis­take by 17-year-old Matthijs De Ligt, Hol­land’s youngest debu­tant since 1931, who mis­judged a pass and al­lowed the striker to slot the ball past Jeroen Zoet.

Delev then made it 2-0 when he un­leashed a sting­ing right-foot drive past Zoet.

Nether­lands coach Danny Blind has said he will think about his fu­ture as coach of the Nether­lands after Satur­day’s de­feat.

“The blame is on me. It falls firmly on my roof. I must now think about it and my em­ployer will be do­ing the same,” Blind told re­porters.

“I’ve worked long enough in foot­ball to un­der­stand how it works. I must now look at my­self in the mir­ror. It can’t carry on like this.”

Blind took over as coach from Guus Hid­dink in a bid to re­sus­ci­tate the Dutch qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign for the 2016 Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships in France but a shock home de­feat to Ice­land in his first match in charge quickly ended any pos­si­bil­ity of a re­vival.

Blind has won seven and lost seven of his 17 games in charge since tak­ing over in 2015.

“I must be truth­ful to my­self and to the KNVB (the Dutch foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tion),” the man­ager said.

"I must be con­vinced that I can get things right but we must also be hon­est and say that get­ting to Rus­sia is now go­ing to be a lot more dif­fi­cult.

“I must think now whether I’m still ca­pa­ble of do­ing the job.”

Their next World Cup qual­i­fier is at home to neigh­bours Lux­em­bourg on June 9. Agen­cies

Bul­garia’s Spas Delev (cen­tre) scores past Nether­lands goal­keeper Jeroen Zoet in their World Cup qual­i­fier on Satur­day.

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