Five reasons for Holland's 1-0 loss to Iceland
Holland coach can blame early red card and Robben's injury for loss, but his tactics also cost Oranje
At the final whistle of his first match in charge, Danny Blind stared emptily the into stands, which were half-empty by then.
His assistants, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Marco van Basten, two of the finest goal-poachers the country has produced, remained seated on the bench, not quite believing what they had just witnessed.
At that moment, you suspect Blind, 54, had finally grasped what he had taken on - a sinking ship.
As captain of the vessel, he explained why Holland slumped to a 1-0 home loss to Iceland yesterday morning (Singapore time), a result which leaves them languishing third in Group A with three games to go.
Our writer looks at the five talking points from the match.
HOLLAND 0 ICELAND 1
(Gylfi Sigurdsson 52-pen)
ROBBED OF ROBBEN
The game turned pear-shaped for Holland pretty early.
Arjen Robben, who had taken over the captain's armband from Robin van Persie, had to leave the pitch injured after just 31 minutes.
His exit left an entire team's attacking responsibility on playmaker Wesley Sneijder's shoulders.
It also deprived the Oranje of arguably their most potent offensive threat.
It gets only worse. They will have to make do without their skipper again for Monday morning's (Singapore time) away clash with Turkey.
STUPID RED CARD
Danny Blind called Bruno Martins Indi "unbelievably unprofessional".
Captain Robben said that the defender "let his team down".
Totally unnecessary? You bet.
In the 33rd minute, Martins Indi "karate-chopped" Iceland's Kolbeinn Sigthorsson in the neck to earn a red card.
It was the turning point of the match, and one which left the hosts with a mountain to climb.
CALL HIM VAN DER WILD
On paper, Gregory Van Der Wiel was one of the most experienced players in the Dutch side.
But there was naivety written all over his challenge that led to Iceland's penalty.
The 27-year-old Paris Saint-Germain fullback fouled Brikir Bjarnason in the penalty area, and Gylfi Sigurdsson converted the spot-kick for the only goal of the game.
A fuming Blind said after the game that van der Wiel "needs to just to stay on his feet".
An accomplished and cultured defender during his time, he would certainly find the player's moment of recklessness doubly hard to swallow.
Down a man and, having already lost talisman Robben to injury, Blind replaced striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar with defender Jeffrey Bruma five minutes before half-time.
The boos that reverberated around the Amsterdam ArenA reflected what the fans thought of his decision.
With the score still at 0-0, and Holland badly needing a win to keep their chances of automatic qualification alive, Blind seemed over-eager to protect a draw when it was only logical that they went for broke.
The timing of the substitution was questionable too.
Taking off his most prolific goal-scorer on the pitch left his team with almost no chance of winning.
Not only did Blind keep Robin van Persie out of the starting line-up but he also failed to bring him on even after Iceland had taken the lead through Sigurdsson's penalty in the 52nd minute.
His final throw of the dice, after making two first-half substitutions, was to switch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum for Spartak Moscow winger Quincy Promes in the 80th minute.
As a result, as the Oranje frantically chased the game in the closing stages, van Persie and Huntelaar - who between them have 90 international goals - watched from the bench.
According to Uefa, Holland registered 18 shots, of which nine were on target.
You would think either of the two would have converted some of the chances if they were on the field.
- Czech Republic 2 Kazakhstan 1
- Turkey 1 Latvia 1
- Bulgaria 0 Norway 1
- Azerbaijan 0 Croatia 0
This was certainly not the scenario that I had in mind for my first game as coach. The team showed a lot of confidence, but I knew it could be a difficult game. The first two places are gone. We must now be sure that we get through via the play-offs.
— Holland coach Danny Blind
It was unbelievably unprofessional, something to the detriment of the whole team. That was the turning point of the game.
— Blind on the 33rd-minute sending-off of Bruno Martins Indi
I'm not thrashing myself but I will look at the choices I made. But I feel we prepared well.
— Blind on his tactics
If we don't win our last three games, then we are not going to be in France.
— Holland playmaker Wesley Sneijder