Iceland ensured Guus Hiddink’s nightmare start as Holland manager continued as his side went down 2-0 in Reykjavik to leave the Oranje six points adrift of the top two in Group A.
Having already lost 2-1 to the Czech Republic in their opening Euro 2016 qualifier, a come-from-behind win over Kazakhstan on matchday two appeared to have steadied the Dutch ship.
However, frailties that were evident against the Czechs were then exposed once more by an Iceland side who have begun their qualifying campaign in sizzling form.
Inspired by Swansea midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, who scored both on the night, the Icelanders’ third straight win to nil has handed them the ascendancy in Group A, already four goals ahead of the Czechs, also on nine points.
The theory that the current crop of Dutch players may have grossly overachieved by reaching the World Cup semi-finals already looks a fairly sound one, with new Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal’s tactics in Brazil receiving the credit instead.
Nevertheless, given that the European Championships qualification process has been expanded for the first time – allowing the two top teams through automatically with the third place sides facing play-offs, aside from the best one overall who also books a spot – Ladbrokes are not entertaining the unthinkable at this point.
Hiddink’s side are still way short at 1/12 to qualify automatically, while it’s 4/6 they still manage to top the group.
On a thrilling night of international action there were no such problems for the Welsh, as Chris Coleman’s side collected their seventh point from nine when seeing off Cyprus in a crucial win at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Faced with having to play virtually the entire second half with 10 men, thanks to Andy King’s red card, Gareth Bale and co clung on for a 2-1 victory leaving the Dragons four points clear of Cyprus at the summit with three games played.
Although World Cup quarter-finalists Belgium will be expected to reassert some control in the group, Wales’ excellent start to the campaign sees them installed as 6/4 shots to make the finals in France automatically.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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