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Friday 18 August 2017

Hiddink stays upbeat after Turkey draw

Netherlands' head coach Guus Hiddink speaks to Netherlands' Georginio Wijnaldum during their Euro 2016 qualifying soccer match in Amsterdam March 28, 2015
Netherlands' head coach Guus Hiddink speaks to Netherlands' Georginio Wijnaldum during their Euro 2016 qualifying soccer match in Amsterdam March 28, 2015

Veteran Netherlands coach Guus Hiddink insisted his side would qualify for next year's European Championship as questions over his tenure re-emerged in the wake of a last-gasp 1-1 home draw with Turkey on Saturday.

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.

"Of course, we will succeed even if I'm not sure yet how," Hiddink said. "We wanted to beat Turkey but at the end of the qualifying competition it could yet prove to be a very important point."

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 in 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 in November but was ratcheted up again after Saturday's disappointing draw.

A leading Dutch soccer website began an online poll on whether the coach should stay after Saturday's performance, eliciting a luke warm response.

Turkey, who took a 37th minute lead through Burak Yilmaz, are still two points behind the third-placed Dutch in Group A.

The Netherlands are on seven points, trailing leaders the Czech Republic by six points and second placed Iceland by five.

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