2018 World Cup Qualifying - UEFA, Group Stage
  • Spas Delev (5', 20')

Netherlands suffer shock qualifying defeat at Bulgaria

Netherlands are in danger of failing to qualify for a second straight major tournament after losing 2-0 to Bulgaria in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday.

After finishing third at the 2014 World Cup, the Dutch missed out on Euro 2016 and now find themselves in fourth place midway through their campaign to reach Russia, six points off the lead in Group A and three back of a potential playoff spot.

Danny Blind handed a first cap to 17-year-old Matthijs de Ligt, but the centre-back's first action did not bode well, as he gave away a free kick just outside the penalty area inside the first minute with a rash challenge on Ivelin Popov.

But worse was to come four minutes later as De Ligt let a speculative high ball fall over his shoulder and collided with goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet, allowing Spas Delev to tap in for the opening goal in just the fifth minute, his first international strike.

Delev was again on target 15 minutes later, firing home from 20 yards out, and there was to be no way back for the Dutch.