Without head coach Danny Blind, who was fired on Sunday, the Dutch national team suffered another defeat (1-2) in a friendly against Italy on Tuesday in Amsterdam.
The Dutch lost 2-0 to Bulgaria on Saturday in Sofia and the following day Blind was fired. Assistant head coach Fred Grim had the lead against Italy, but the Dutch football association KNVB aims to appoint a successor before June this year.
The Dutch showed some spirit in the opening phase against Italy, which lacked against Bulgaria, and came in front in the 10th minute. After a Dutch combination through the middle Alessio Romagnoli made an own goal.
The Netherlands couldn’t enjoy the advantage too long because one minute later Eder equalized after a mistake by Wesley Hoedt. Bruno Martins Indi was close to the second Dutch goal, but the header of the Dutch defender hit the cross-bar.
Italy came in front in the 32nd minute after once again sloppy defending by the Dutch. Dutch goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet saved on an attempt by Parolo, but Leonardo Bonucci scored on the rebound.
After Daniele De Rossi limped off injured Italy managed to hold on to the 2-1 lead until the end of the first half. In the second part Quincy Promes had a good chance and substitute Wesley Sneijder also had some attempts, but Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma had some fine saves. Dutch goalkeeper Zoet prevented Italian substitute Leonardo Spinazzola from scoring in the final minutes.
For Italian coach Gian Piero Ventura, the result was a confirmation of their good form, also in qualification. The Dutch will continue their struggle and will continue their search for a new coach.
One of the favorites to fill in the position is former Dutch national team coach Louis van Gaal, who led the Dutch to the third place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. With his successors Guus Hiddink and since August 2015 Blind the Dutch national team missed out on qualification for Euro 2016 and dropped to the fourth place in World Cup qualifying Group A after Saturday’s defeat against Bulgaria.
Van Gaal was present in the Amsterdam Arena on Tuesday, as he was invited by Clarence Seedorf, who said goodbye to the Dutch fans, nine years after his last of 87 internationals. Van Gaal refused to comment on a third term as national team coach.
(With Inputs From Xinhua)