powered by Holland at Home
June 9th is fast approaching, when hopefully the Dutch football team will dazzle the world once more with their footballing prowess. The sensational Dutch performance throughout the 2010 World Cup is still fresh in the memory and that team’s gifted players, such as Wesley Sneijder and Klaas Jan Huntelaar, are now internationally renowned soccer heroes. But who went before them and what other victories has the Dutch national squad notched up over the years?
The Netherlands played its first ever international match against neighbouring Belgium in 1905, achieving a comfortable win by 4 goals to 1. Holland went on to enjoy significant success in the years that followed, collecting three Olympic bronze medals along the way. Although the Netherlands didn’t compete in the very first World Cup, organised by FIFA in 1930, they did take part four years later in Italy. A disappointing performance meant that they failed to make it past the first round though and by the 1938 World Cup in France four years later, the team had barely improved.
After their failure in France, the Netherlands didn’t always compete in the World Cup and when they did, they often didn’t qualify. The European Championships, which were first organised in France in 1960, also appeared tantalisingly out of Dutch reach, as the national team struggled to pass the qualifying rounds for many years. In 1974 these frustrating setbacks finally came to an end and the Netherlands experienced a dramatic reversal of fortunes. Thanks to the remarkable skills of a crop of extremely talented players, including Johan Cruyff, Johnny Rep and Johan Neeskens, the Netherlands not only qualified for the World Cup with ease, they even booted their way to finals where they finished runners up. Just two years later the Dutch came a well deserved third place in the European Championships in Yugoslavia and again reached the final at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. Yet it wasn’t until the European Championships of 1988 that the Dutch national team finally took home the trophy. The stars of the squad that made it possible included Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Marco van Basten – footballing legends that placed Holland forever on the soccer map. Their triumph was responsible for triggering ‘Oranje-gekte‘ (Orange mania), a nationwide phenomenon that saw increasing numbers of Dutch football fans decorate their houses, street and even themselves, in a sea of orange.
Subsequent Dutch teams seemed unable to recapture the magic of 1988. Although the Netherlands regularly qualified for both the European Championships and the World Cup, it was not until 2010 that they at last made it through to the finals again. And it is largely due to this performance that the Dutch team is currently ranked number four in the world by FIFA – a position which certainly bodes well for the forthcoming European Championships …
The Dutch 2012 Squad
The Dutch team selection is as follows:
The Dutch team is in Pool B and plays on the following dates:
Saturday, June 9 (18:00 CET): Netherlands – Denmark
Wednesday, June 13 (20:45 CET): Netherlands – Germany
Sunday, June 17 (20:45 CET): Portugal – Netherlands
Thursday, June 21 (20:45 CET): Winner Pool A – Second Place Pool B
Friday, June 22 (20:45 CET): Winner Pool B – Second Place Pool A
Wednesday, June 27 (20:45 CET): Winner Quarter-Final 1 – Winner Quarter-Final 3
Thursday, June 28 (20:45 CET): Winner Quarter-Final 2 – Winner Quarter-Final 4
Sunday, July 1 (20:45 CET): Winner Semi-Final 1 – Winner Semi-Final 2
• Since the nineties the Dutch football team has often been referred to as simply ‘Oranje’, in reference to both the colour of their kit and the House of Orange.
• Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar boasts the most caps, having represented his country no less than 130 times.
• British coach Bob Glendennig prepared the Dutch team for 87 international matches – more than anyone else in national history. Their greatest successes however, were achieved under the guidance of another – Bert van Marwijk, who has coached the Dutch team since 2008, was responsible for their incredible performance in 2010.
• Patrick Kluivert has racked up the most goals for his country to date, with an impressive 40 in total.
• The Dutch national football team no longer participates in the Olympic Games. The Netherlands is instead represented by ‘Jonge Oranje’, a promising team of under 21’s.