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Lax defending costs Scotland dear in WC qualifier

Scotland suffered a comprehensive 3-0 defeat against Holland in World Cup qualifying Group 9. Woeful defending did the Scots no favours against a side ranked third best in the World although they did have a Gary Caldwell header harshly disallowed.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Robin van Persie were both on target with free headers in the first half before Dirk Kuyt added a penalty late on.

Scotland now trail the Dutch by eight points after four games as the home side eased to victory.

Coach George Burley said: "Goals change games. They got the first goal.

He added: "It was always going to be a difficult game. We gave it everything we've got.

"Holland are a tremendous team; they're one of the top six in the world."

Burley was mystified as to why Gary Caldwell saw a headed goal chalked off while the score was 2-0.

"We scored a perfectly good goal. Why the referee disallowed it...

"Certainly, decisions went totally against us."

Burley was also unhappy with Holland's second goal, claiming keeper Allan McGregor was impeded by Dirk Kuyt when Van Persie attacked the ball.

He said: "The trouble was the balls whipped in from the corner and the player's blocked Allan McGregor - he couldn't get to it."

Focusing on the positives, Burley added: "We had a couple of (full) debuts: Christophe Berra, Ross McCormack. I thought, overall, they worked very hard."

Wednesday night's clash against Iceland is now vital to Scotland's hopes of qualifying from Group 9: "Now we've got to look forward to the home game against Iceland.

"Every game at international level is difficult; every game is so important, none more so than Wednesday evening.

"We've got three home games which we've certainly got to look to win, starting from Wednesday."

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