The Netherlands started the new European week disastrously, but more than made up for it in the Europa and Conference League. The current number six in the coefficient ranking again ran away from closest pursuer Portugal, which will have to do everything possible to keep the Netherlands from two Champions League tickets.

    Points obtained

    After Ajax received a huge blow from Napoli (1-6) last Tuesday, it was immediately all hands on deck for Dutch football. PSV, AZ and to a lesser extent Feyenoord made up for a large part of the disgrace of the team from Amsterdam. PSV and AZ recorded victories and ensured that the Netherlands was allowed to add 0.400 points twice. Feyenoord gave up a lead against FC Midtjylland: that draw resulted in 0.200 point. It brought the total weekly yield to exactly 1,000 points.

    A worrisome picture for the future is the situation in which Ajax finds itself. The team from Amsterdam overwintered last season with two fingers in the nose in the Champions League, which was rewarded with four bonus points. However, a place in the knockout stage of the billion-dollar ball is now miles away for Alfred Schreuder’s side, who will have to stunt against Napoli or Liverpool in the coming weeks to stay alive. Otherwise, there will most likely be a sequel in the Europa League.

    Feyenoord and PSV are well on their way to overwinter in this. This also applies to AZ in the Conference League. The Alkmaarders already booked three victories in the third club tournament, which, just like last year, turns out to be a guarantee of coefficient points.

    Points Portugal and France

    Number seven Portugal, which the Netherlands hopes to overtake this season to hold the two starting tickets for the Champions League, did not pick up any points on Thursday evening. SC Braga lost against Unio Sint-Gillis, which completed the poor Portuguese week. The participants of the Southern Europeans took only 0.500 points this week, as a result of which the Netherlands expanded the lead by no less than half a point.

    The French experienced a strong week and were allowed to add a total of 1,500 points. Because all French participants still have a good chance of overwintering, it seems a utopia for the Netherlands to even climb to fifth place in the ranking this season.

    Current state

    It therefore seems to be a matter of defending sixth place for Dutch football this season. If that succeeds, the champion and the number two in the Eredivisie will receive an invitation to the group stage of the Champions League from the 2024 season. France has a lead of almost two points over the Netherlands and also has six trumps in hand.

    More interesting is therefore a look at the differences between the Netherlands and Portugal, the numbers six and seven of the ranking. The lead grew to 2,351 points, which means that the Netherlands can slowly start looking forward to hibernation with a nice buffer. When the clubs wake up in Qatar after the World Cup, only one task remains: to ensure that the lead remains intact in order to deliver two participants to the Champions League and to have an extra team appear at the start of the European season.

    5. France – 53,831 (+1,500)
    6. Netherlands – 51,900 (+1,000)
    7. Portugal – 49,549 (+0,500)

    AZ recorded a hard-fought victory over Apollon Limassol. © Ed van de Pol

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