Robben goes out in style...with Dutch
Arjen Robben ensured that the Netherlands bowed out of World Cup qualification in some style yesterday, scoring both goals as the Dutch beat Sweden 2-0, before then announcing his retirement from international football.
The winning margin at the Amsterdam Arena was nowhere near enough for the Netherlands, which had to beat Sweden by seven goals to move into second place in Group A.
The Swedes, who looked content to defend throughout the match, finished second and go into a play-off for the World Cup in Russia next year. France beat Belarus 2-1 to seal top spot in the group and automatic qualification.
The Netherlands, three-time World Cup runners-up, have now missed out on the World Cup after failing to qualify for last year's European Championship in France.
It has been a dramatic fall from grace for a Dutch team that reached the semi-finals at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, four years after losing the final in South Africa.
But it was a fittingly bitter-sweet end for one of the greatest wingers the Netherlands have produced, who may be best remembered for a goal he didn't score - against Spain in the 2010 World Cup final, when Iker Casillas made an outstanding save to keep the Dutchman at bay. Spain won 1-0 in extra time.
"I wanted to show one more time all the things that I can do," Robben told Dutch broadcaster NOS as he announced his retirement from the national team.