Hiddink, Odegaard & Townsend: 5 Talking Points From This Week's International Matches


1. Guus Hiddink is under huge pressure - despite the win over Spain

There's nothing quite like a big win to restore the feelgood factor and Tuesday night's 2-0 win over Spain has probably bought Guus Hiddink some time, but Netherlands are in serious danger of not qualifying for Euro 2016. A team with the likes of Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar should not be in the position they are and the axe seem ready to drop on Hiddink. They are already six points behind group leaders Czech Republic and five points behind second-placed Iceland, making Hiddink's next game in Latvia a must-win.

 

2. Wales are in a great position to qualify

FBL-EURO-2016-ISR-WAL : News Photo

For the first time since 1958, Wales look like qualifying for a major tournament. The target of 20 points to qualify is a realistic one given they are already on 11 and are joint top of Group B with Belgium, with half the games played. The thought of seeing Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey at an international tournament is appealing, you must say, and would be the perfect tribute to the late Gary Speed.

 

3. Vincent Kompany is losing the plot

FBL-EURO-2016-ISR-BEL : News Photo

The Manchester City captain's form is going from bad to worse - for club and country. A series of woeful displays saw him dropped after City's defeat at Liverpool and Belgium boss Marc Wilmots must be considering the same thing after two yellow cards left his side hanging on for a win against Israel. He also decided to do a few kick ups and in the centre circle and smash a volley over the bar from 45 yards. It's not clear why his confidence and form has dipped so dramatically, but it's alarming.

 

4. Andros Townsend continues to confound

Townsend is a strange player. Given his performances for Tottenham this season, which can be described as inconsistent at best, Townsend was slightly fortunate to even make the England squad. But then when he did, he took his opportunity with both hands with a wonderful strike from distance. Roy Hodgson continues to keep faith with a player that performs better for country than club.

 

5. Martin Odegaard could have a huge Euro 2016 - if Norway qualify

Norway v Bulgaria - EURO 2016 Qualifier : News Photo

And it's a huge 'if'. The Norwegians have nine points and are two points behind second-placed Italy - but Odegaard couldn't prevent his country falling to a confidence-sapping 5-1 hammering by Group H leaders Croatia. Real Madrid's Odegaard started in Zagreb and, in doing so, became the youngest player to start a European Championship qualifier at 16 years and 101 days. But Odegaard was thrown into his fourth game for Norway in rather desperate fashion, and relying on a 16-year-old is never advisable - even one as talented as this.

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