France on brink of World Cup, Dutch hopes all but over

France on brink of World Cup, Dutch hopes all but over

France on brink of World Cup, Dutch hopes all but over

Netherlands captain Arjen Robben has given up hope on the side advancing to the 2018 World Cup finals despite the side registering a 3-1 win at Belarus in their penultimate qualifier on Saturday.

Sweden could yet finish top of the group and qualify automatically at France's expense if they win and Les Bleus falter at home to Belarus.

"You must always keep going to the last minute and we have to try to make it a good match, but you have to be very realistic, " Robben told Dutch broadcaster NOS. Sweden scored twice in the opening 18 minutes and led 3-0 at halftime.

But they now face a near impossible task, as Sweden thrashed Luxembourg 8-0 earlier Saturday, to extend their advantage over Dick Advocaat's men on goal difference to 12.

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The Netherlands is in danger of missing its first World Cup since 2002, now third in Group A with 13 points.

Yesterday morning's result left the Dutch on 16 points from nine matches in Group A, three behind second-placed Sweden, who have a vastly superior goal difference of plus-19 compared to plus-seven for Holland. "8-0? Well, no I don't believe that".

"First Sweden and then we'll see, " he said of his plans for the future.

"If you know that an opponent have lost 8-0, you do not expect it especially as the same team drew with France a few weeks ago".

"It's a very hard task, but crazier things happen in football".

Robben, a 33-year-old veteran with 95 caps, wasn't ready to call an end to his own global career, yet.

Advocaat's side had won four of their last five outings coming into this match, but they struggled to add to their lead in the first half as Tonny Vilhena and Janssen both failed to make the most of presentable chances.

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