Netherlands 6 Latvia 0: Pressure eases on Hiddink after convincing rout
Hiddink's second spell in charge of the national side has not been a positive one so far, with Netherlands having lost two of three Group A games prior to the visit of Marians Pahars' men to the Amsterdam Arena.
So poor has their post-World Cup form been that Hiddink had suggested he would resign had they not beaten Latvia - although his side produced a comprehensive display thanks to a brace apiece from Arjen Robben and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to put pressure on Czech Republic and Iceland above them.
Despite their recent woes, Hiddink's men began positively and were ahead after just six minutes courtesy of Robin van Persie's header.
Glancing home a delivery from the ever-dangerous Robben, Van Persie scored his second goal of qualification before the Bayern Munich winger got in on the act with a stunning strike from distance.
The first-half rout was complete when Huntelaar turned home Ibrahim Afellay's cross three minutes from the break.
A late onslaught saw Jeffrey Bruma, Robben and Huntelaar find the net to add further gloss to an impressive performance, in which the only low point was Daley Blind's injury prior to the interval.
The Dutch started well and almost took the lead two minutes in when Afellay dug out a curled effort that struck Aleksandrs Kolinko's left-hand post.
Netherlands' positive opening was rewarded soon after when skipper Van Persie nodded home the opener.
Robben's pinpoint delivery found the Manchester United man, who headed home to lift some of the pressure on Hiddink.
Hiddink named a new-look central defensive pairing as the injured Ron Vlaar and Joel Veltman were replaced by Bruma and Stefan de Vrij, with the pair given a warning when Valerijs Sabala headed Janis Ikaunieks' cross wide.
Blind limped off with what seemed a thigh injury - replaced by Jordy Clasie - before Wesley Sneijder was crowded out following a slick Robben backheel.
The Bayern man continued his fine display when he curled home a Dutch second after 35 minutes, shifting the ball onto his favoured left and beating a helpless Kolinko, before Huntelaar made it three soon after when he turned in Afellay's cross.
Despite a dominant attacking display in the first half, Arturs Zjuzins' wayward strike demonstrated some of the hosts' defensive shortcomings.
The midfielder was allowed to cut onto his left foot and fired wide of goal. Robben then struck the crossbar with a free-kick he earned from outside the area.
Netherlands added to their advantage when Bruma turned home Van Persie's header from a corner with enough time left for Robben and Huntelaar to round off the scoring.
Turning onto his left foot again, Robben fired past Kolinko to cap off a fine individual showing.
Huntelaar's 38th international goal following a neat spin and turn took him past Dennis Bergkamp in the all-time Netherlands scoring chart to third a minute from time.