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SPORTS

Hiddink relieved after Dutch win in Latvia

FOOTBALL By Reuters | June 13th 2015

RIGA, Netherlands coach Guus Hiddink was a relieved man after his team won their Euro 2016 qualifier in Latvia 2-0 on Friday to retain hope of an automatic berth at next year's finals.

"Of course, I'm relieved, we had to win here. After a positive World Cup last year, this side has had setbacks. But now new, younger players are profiling themselves and the older payers are still doing what they should be doing," Hiddink told reporters, referring to the role Wesley Sneijder played in setting up the opening goal and twice hitting the woodwork.

"We are in a rebuilding phase but according to me it's going in the right direction. I want to compliment the team. Not only for the performance in the match but also in training where they gave everything."

Two second-half goals, which followed quickly after the substitution of captain Robin van Persie, kept the Dutch third in Group A, five points behind leaders Iceland and three adrift of the Czech Republic, who lost 1-0 in Reykjavik.

With four qualifiers left, and home games to come against Iceland and the Czechs, the Dutch can still qualify automatically despite losing to both teams at the start of the campaign and dropping home points against Turkey.

The patchy form of the Dutch side has been in sharp contrast to the team's excellent third-place finish at last year's World Cup in Brazil under Hiddink's predecessor Louis van Gaal.

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