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The curse of finishing 3rd at the World Cup returns to haunt the Dutch

The Netherlands are the latest in a long line of teams to suffer such a fall from grace.

The Holland players last night.
The Holland players last night.
Image: Peter Dejong

LAST NIGHT, A 3-2 defeat to the 10 men of the Czech Republic ended a nightmare campaign for the Netherlands.

Just 15 months ago, the Dutch had defeated hosts Brazil in a third/fourth play-off at the World Cup finals under Louis van Gaal.

Since then, they have been lost to the Czechs (twice), Iceland (twice) and Turkey.

It has left them fourth in Group A and, embarrasingly, absent from the European Championships for the first in 30 years despite the fact that the tournament has been increased to 24 teams.

The funny thing is, such a fall from grace isn’t quite as unheard of as you might think.

In fact, all of the following have been unable to reach the Euros having achieved third place at the previous World Cup.

Poland: Third at 1982 World Cup, fail to qualify for Euro ’84

France: Third at 1986 World Cup, fail to qualify for Euro ’88

Italy: Third at 1990 World Cup, fail to qualify for Euro ’92

Sweden: Third at 1994 World Cup, fail to qualify for Euro ’96

Croatia: Third at 1998 World Cup, fail to qualify for Euro 2000

Turkey: Third at 2002 World Cup, fail to qualify for Euro 2004

Holland: Third at 2014 World Cup, fail to qualify for Euro 2016

There have been two exceptions since 1982 — Germany were third at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, but went on to book their place at Euro 2008 and Euro 2012.

(h/t: Dale Johnson

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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