4 Jun 2009

Netherlands bid to secure early qualification

3:22 pm on 4 June 2009

Netherlands, one of the greatest football nations never to win the World Cup, can become the first European country to reach next year's finals with victory in Iceland this weekend.

he Group Nine clash in Reykjavik gives the Dutch the chance to move 11 points clear of second-placed Scotland, who're not playing and wouldn't be able to catch the 1974 and 1978 runners-ups.

as they have only three games left.

Netherland have won all five qualifiers and have just moved up to second behind Italy in the FIFA rankings for the first time in nearly four years.

England have risen to sixth, thanks to a run of five qualification wins in a row under Fabio Capello in Group Six.

They play Kazakhstan there on Sunday before hosting tiny Andorra on Thursday.

Only group winners qualify automatically and six more points would leave England needing just three from their last three matches.