Adding to the woes of European Championships last year, Netherlands on Tuesday failed to qualify for football’s biggest showdown to be held next year in Russia. Although Arjen Robben-led Netherlands overcame Sweden’s challenge in their last World Cup qualifier but the 2-0 victory just wasn’t enough. The Dutch team was required to register a 7-0 win against Sweden in order to advance to the World Cup 2018.

Rather Sweden, which finished second above Netherlands on goal difference in the Group A of qualifiers, will now head into the playoffs for the qualification. Netherlands will go back home after registering 6 wins in 10 games from a group that had France, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Belarus and Sweden.

The way that Netherlands performed in the World Cup Qualifying games was truly abysmal and their failure to secure a berth in next year’s world cup speaks volumes of how their squad quality has deteriorated in the recent years. The decline of Netherlands began in 2016 when various senior players who are now past their prime were carrying the mantle of the international team.

Take the case of Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Huntelaar, Robin van Persie; these players spearheaded the Dutch national team for a decade and gave some phenomenal performances. But as they slowly age and lose the deft touch of football, Netherlands have failed to produce adequate replacements for them.

From one of the top guns of football to a team that is ranked at a miserable 29 in the world, Netherlands has a lot to do. Hopefully, the words of retiring Arjen Robben “future of Netherlands in bright” truly come true for the struggling team and they restore themselves to the lost glory before the European Championships of 2020.