Rotterdam is to be avoided for Holland, Irish on course for first tournament in a decade and La Furia Roja remain favourites...
At half-time last night in the Amsterdam ArenA a high scoring epic didn't look on the cards. Netherlands were winning 1-0 thanks to Robin van Persie before both sides went goal crazy in the second half. Final score: Netherlands 5-3 Hungary.
Perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised that it was Hungary who gave the Dutch a fright. After all it's the Magyars who have inflicted two of just three competitive home defeats in the entire history of Oranje.
During qualifying for the World Cup in 1962 the gifted Hungarians were drawn in a three-team group with Holland and East Germany. In April 1961 Hungary ran out 3-0 winners in Rotterdam and comfortably qualified for the finals in Chile.
In fact the Magyars were so far ahead that the cancellation of Holland's return leg with East Germany was academic. The players from the old DDR were refused visas to cross the border so the game was never played. Holland also lost at home to Luxembourg in a Euro 1964 qualifier in...Rotterdam.
Incredibly, Netherlands didn't lose another competitive match at home until Hungary arrived in Rotterdam in October 1984. Once again it was the away side who grabbed the spoils running out 2-1 victors in a defeat which ultimately cost the Dutch their place at Mexico '86.
Since then the Dutch have lost just once more at home in a meaningful match. Portugal came to - you guessed it - Rotterdam in October 2000 and won 2-0. Louis van Gaal's side missed out on World Cup 2002 after finishing third behind the Seleccao and the Republic of Ireland.
No wonder Oranje prefer to play in Amsterdam...
* Netherlands to win Euro 2012 @ 7.0 (William Hill)
2) Irish Odds On For First Tournament In A Decade
Everything is still to play in Group B with the Republic of Ireland, Slovakia and Russia all tied on 10 points. Following the boys in green's nervy 2-1 win over Macedonia they've been made odds on @ 1.66 to qualify compared to 2.10 against.
"The match against Macedonia was a potential banana skin for the Irish, but the victory at the Aviva now leaves Trapattoni's men in a good position in Group B," said William Hill spokesman Tony Kenny.
He added, "Our betting suggests it's going to be a tight race for the top two spots in the group - with Russia, Slovakia and Ireland all in the qualification mix."
Ireland haven't qualified for a European Championship since their sole appearance back in 1988. They last featured at a major tournament since World Cup 2002.
Euro 2012 Group B Winner Odds (William Hill)
Russia @ 1.61
Republic of Ireland @ 4.0
Slovakia @ 4.0
3) Spanish Still The Favourites
La Furia Roja maintained their perfect start to qualification and are now a tiny 1.01 to reach Euro 2012. No side has ever retained the European Championship since the tournament's inception in 1960. Holders Soviet Union were beaten by Spain in the 1964 final while 1972 winners West Germany lost the final four years later on penalties against Czechoslovakia.
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