'Golden Guus' losing his Midas touch
(Klaas-Jan Huntelaar 90+2)
(Burak Yilmaz 37)
Never kill the goose that lays the golden egg, they say.
But the "Golden Guus", as Guus Hiddink is affectionately known, has seemingly lost the Midas touch.
For a long period in his distinguished career, he was the most sought-after man in the world of football, leaving his mark wherever he coached.
The 68-year-old was named honorary citizen of Seoul after he led South Korea to the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup Finals and his face has adorned stamps in Australia after his successful stint with the Socceroos from 2005 to 2006.
But his second stint with the Dutch national team - he also coached Holland from 1994 to 1998 - now stands on the precipice of a disaster.
A 1-1 home draw with Turkey in a Euro 2016 Group A qualifier yesterday morning (Singapore time) tightened the noose around his neck.
An injury-time equaliser by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar probably saved him from an immediate sacking, but the pressure continues to mount on the veteran.
In a group they were expected to top easily, the Dutch find themselves in third spot, trailing the Czech Republic and Iceland by six and five points respectively.
Holland's plight, though, would have been worse had there not been a revision to the rules.
Under the new format of the competition, the best third-placed team qualify for the Euro 2016 Finals in France directly, while the remaining eight third-placed sides must go through the play-offs.
But their current predicament is still a far cry from the country's euphoric moment of beating then defending champions Spain 5-1 in the World Cup group stage nine months ago before going on to finish third.
Hiddink was brought in to build on the success of his predecessor Louis van Gaal.
The suspicion now is that he may be living on past glory, which also includes leading Holland and South Korea to the World Cup semis and Russia to the last four of the European Championship.
Since taking charge last September, the Oranje have lost to Italy and Mexico in friendlies, and defeated by the Czech Republic and Iceland in Euro qualifiers.
Holland's seven points in the qualifying campaign came from wins over Kazakhstan and Latvia, and the draw with Turkey.
Hiddink has inherited a sound squad - nine of the players who started against the Turks yesterday were part of their fantastic run in Brazil last year.
Even the absence of key attackers Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie through injuries couldn't mitigate the appalling display.
So, what's the problem with Hiddink's Holland?
Reports suggest unrest among the players, as seen during the 2-0 loss to Iceland last October.
Some believe that Hiddink's decision to deploy a flat back four as opposed to van Gaal's five-man defence is the reason for their defensive frailties. His team selection has also been questioned, as has his record in recent years.
Russia didn't reach the 2010 World Cup, Turkey failed to qualify for Euro 2012 and Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala didn't quite sparkle during his tenure, which he ended by resigning abruptly.
Former Holland international Ronald de Boer said after the defeat by Iceland: "With all due respect for Hiddink, he's 68 years old, I think he's done, in my eyes.
"Of course, he has a great (overall) record. His ideas now are old-fashioned."
Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf even went with the headline: "Relieve Hiddink from his misery".
Whatever the reasons for Holland's slump, the fingers all seem to be pointed in the direction of the coach once widely regarded as football's miracle man.
His team host Spain in a friendly on Wednesday.
Another loss could be the final nail in Hiddink's coffin.
A defeat would have been catastrophic, but the goal keeps us in the running.
— Holland coach Guus Hiddink on the draw with Turkey
Hiddink confident of making the grade
Holland coach Guus Hiddink insisted his side would qualify for next year's European Championship Finals in France as his tenure came under more criticism in the wake of a last-gasp 1-1 home draw with Turkey yesterday morning (Singapore time).
Hiddink's team needed a goal from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar two minutes into stoppage time to snatch a dramatic draw in the Group A qualifier at the Amsterdam Arena.
Had Huntelaar not scored, it would have been their first loss at home in a European Championship qualifier.
"It wasn't a bad match, but not our best either," said Hiddink (above) . "A defeat would have been catastrophic, but the goal keeps us in the running.
"We need to remain confident even if the situation is not comfortable."
"Of course, we will succeed even if I'm not sure yet how," said Hiddink when asked if the Dutch could qualify for the Finals.
"We wanted to beat Turkey but, at the end of the qualifying competition, it could yet prove to be a very important point."
Burak Yilmaz fired Turkey into the lead thanks to a deflection in the 37th minute and Holland had to wait until second-half stoppage time for Huntelaar to score the equaliser which saw them narrowly avoid their third defeat in Group A.
The result left them six points adrift of leaders Czech Republic and one point ahead of Turkey in third place, five behind Iceland who defeated bottom side Kazakhstan 3-0 earlier in the day.
Holland started the game brightly with Memphis Depay looking lively on the left wing and they dominated possession.
However, it was Turkey who took the lead when Galatasaray striker Yilmaz smashed the ball from the edge of the box after Holland failed to clear Gokhan Tore's cross from the right, with defender Bruno Martins Indi deflecting the ball past Jasper Cillessen.
Holland had the majority of the ball but the were unable to find the equaliser as Turkey went in at half-time worthy of their lead as they posed a constant threat on the break.
The hosts went close to getting back on terms just before the hour mark when Ibrahim Afellay's powerful left-footed strike from 20 metres was tipped over the bar by Turkey goalkeeper Volkan Babacan.
Sneijder then narrowly missed the target with a curling free-kick 10 minutes later but he played a part in the equaliser when his rasping shot from the edge of the box took a deflection off Huntelaar into goal.
Despite salvaging a late point, the result was still a disappointment for Hiddink's side, who surely now must take maximum points against Latvia in June to keep their hopes of qualification alive.
Hiddink had already been under pressure after the Dutch lost two of their opening three Group A qualifiers.
After the 2-0 defeat in Iceland last October, he had talks with the Dutch football association over his role, but was given a vote of confidence.
Pressure eased after a 6-0 win over Latvia last November but was ratcheted up again after yesterday morning's disappointing draw.
A leading Dutch football website began an online poll on whether Hiddink should stay after yesterday morning's performance, eliciting a luke warm response.
"It was difficult against a team like Turkey," said Hiddink.
"They came to play football with a wall, but they are not a bad team. Their position in the standings does not reflect their capabilities.
"We gave our all but it was not a good match from us." - Wire Services.