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HUMBLE PIE

Ajax star proves Marco van Basten VERY WRONG after reaching World Cup with Morocco

Ajax midfielder Hakim Ziyech has made Marco van Basten eat his words after qualifying for the World Cup with Morocco

There’s nothing quite like a large serving of humble pie.

And the recipient in this case is Dutch great Marco van Basten.


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How do you like them apples, Marco?

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How do you like them apples, Marco?

Back in 2016, Van Basten lambasted Ajax midfielder Hakim Ziyech for opting to represent Morocco instead of the Netherlands at international level.

The former Dutch forward said: “How stupid can you be to choose Morocco if you are in contention for the Dutch national team?”

Fast forward to today and, well, the inevitable has happened.

Morocco fans celebrate beating Ivory Coast

AFP or licensors
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Morocco fans celebrate beating Ivory Coast

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The Netherlands endured a World Cup qualifying campaign to forget, failing to even secure a play-off spot for the finals in Russia next summer.

They finished four points behind France and below Sweden on goal difference in Group A.

That journey included defeats home and away to the French and an humiliating loss to Bulgaria that all but confirmed they wouldn’t make it out of the group.

Not a Dutch emblem in sight

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Not a Dutch emblem in sight

Meanwhile, Ziyech’s decision to play for Morocco proved a masterstroke.

Heading into the weekend, Morocco needed just a point against the Ivory Coast to top Group C and secure a World Cup berth.

But they actually went one better – beating Wilfried Zaha and co. 2-0 away from home thanks to goals from Nabil Dirar and Mehdi Benatia.

‘I’ve made a huge mistake’

© KEYSTONE / WALTER BIERI
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‘I’ve made a huge mistake’

So after all that spiel from Van Basten, Ziyech will be at the World Cup while the Dutch sit at home as no more than spectators.

Sorry, Marco.