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Grim night in prospect for dismal Dutch

Grim night in prospect for dismal Dutch

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The Netherlands will have interim boss Fred Grim in charge when they face Italy at the Amsterdam Arena on Tuesday evening.

Danny Blind was sacked as head coach following the weekend loss to Italy that leaves the Dutch in severe danger of missing out on consecutive major international tournaments.

It is a spectacular fall from grace for a nation that was within a kick of a ball of winning the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 and reached the last-four in Brazil four years later.

Their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign is in turmoil after a second defeat in five games. With only wins over Belarus and Luxembourg to their credit so far, the Dutch are behind France, Sweden and now Bulgaria in Group A.

That led to an admission from the Dutch FA that the team will have “difficulty qualifying for the World Cup in Russia” and Blind’s sacking.

Grim has been placed in charge for Tuesday’s friendly in Amsterdam and, at 8/5, the Azzurri’s price looks tempting to pile further misery on the Netherlands.

The home side have failed to win in their previous two friendlies, losing to Greece in September before a 1-1 draw with Belgium in November.

Italy are making their usual steady progress through qualifying, only dropping points in a draw with Spain so far.

They look best placed for victory given the uncertainty that hangs over the Dutch camp and their poor form.

There is another meeting of European heavyweights on Tuesday as France entertain Spain.

Both nations have been making solid progress in qualifying and are top of their respective group.

They are hard to separate on paper for this game but, with both sides liking to play attacking football and no points to play for, there may be goals, and both teams to score at 10/11 looks like the best value route into this clash.

While the French and Spanish are noted for attacking style, the same is not likely to be true when Iceland face the Republic of Ireland in Dublin.

The duo made the knockout stage of Euro 2016 last summer, with Iceland causing a real stir in their tournament bow.

The teams are similar in approach, both being tough to beat and that is likely to be borne out in this game where the draw appeals at 43/20.

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Enda McElhinney Our racing expert, Enda studies cards in both England and Ireland on a daily basis and knows all the details you need to know when trying to select a winner. He is also a regular football writer and has strong knowledge of the Scottish game, with golf another specialised sport on his CV.