Double dose of defeat leaves hopes in tatters for suffering Scots and Irish

SCOTLAND&rsquo;S World Cup dreams were left shattered last night, as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat against the Netherlands at Hampden Park.<br /><br />George Burley&rsquo;s men needed a win to have any realistic hope of snatching a play-off place but Dutch substitute Eljero Elia stepped off the bench to hit a late winner and break Scottish hearts.<br /><br />The defeat compiled with a 2-1 win for Norway at home to Macedonia meant the Scots slipped to third in the Group 9 standings, but manager Burley still believes he is the man to take Scotland forward.<br /><br />&ldquo;It wasn&rsquo;t to be,&rdquo; boss Burley said afterwards. &ldquo;But it certainly wasn&rsquo;t for a lack of passion, determination and quality that we didn&rsquo;t get anything out of the game.<br /><br />&ldquo;I want to continue as manager of Scotland, of course I do. I was proud of the players tonight, they couldn&rsquo;t have done any more.&rdquo;<br /><br />Meanwhile, Slovakia all but ended Northern Ireland&rsquo;s hopes of qualification for next summer&rsquo;s finals after their 2-0 victory at Windsor Park.<br /><br />It was the first home defeat suffered by Northern Ireland in seven games and a result, which now leaves Nigel Worthington&rsquo;s team needing to beat Czech Republic in their final group game.<br /><br />And Wales were another home nation to suffer World Cup heartache as Russia raced to a 3-1 victory at the Millennium Stadium to see off their faint chances of qualification.