Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Netherlands fail to qualify for World Cup, Sweden to play-offs

Netherlands fail to qualify for World Cup, Sweden to play-offs

Netherlands needed to win by seven goals to climb above their visitors into second place in Group A but instead finish third on goal difference. France beat Belarus 2-1 to seal top spot in the group and automatic qualification.

The Bayern Munich midfielder made his global debut in a friendly against Portugal in 2003, and was part of the Netherlands side that lost 1-0 to Spain in the final of the 2010 World Cup, before being handed the captaincy of the national side in 2015.

They have now missed out on a second major tournament after also failing in their bid to qualify for last year's European Championship in France.

The home side started brightly in the Amsterdam Arena with a fired-up Robben converting a 16th-minute penalty and then hammering home a superb left-footed shot five minutes before halftime to raise the faint hopes of the home fans.

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Defender Kenny Tete and midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum both squandered good chances in the first half and Ryan Babel came close with a long-range free kick.

The 33-year-old represented his country at six major global tournaments and is among their all-time top scorers with his two-goal haul taking him into a tie for fourth with Dennis Bergkamp. "We'll miss him, no doubts about that".

Robben gave the Netherlands the lead when he converted - though only just - a 16th minute penalty with a fluffed Panenka chip.

Robben ended his worldwide career with 37 goals from 112 appearances.

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