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The Netherlands – three times World Cup champions…almost, but not quite!

The football World Cup is in full swing and Dutch supporters at home and abroad are showing their undying loyalty with a colourful display of orange flags, hats and T-shirts. And fortunately for them, there’s usually something to celebrate! Indeed, the Dutch national team performed brilliantly in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and have already made a promising start to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. But have the Netherlands always enjoyed such success on the international soccer stage? Below is a brief overview of the most significant Dutch World Cup moments over the years.

Dutch football team

The World Cup from 1930 to 1970

During the early years of the World Cup – the famous international football tournament that was first held in 1930 – the Dutch team was anything but successful. In fact, Holland often didn’t even qualify and when they did, they were usually sent packing after just a few games, which is exactly what happened in the 1934 and 1938 World Cups.

Dutch success at the 1974 and 1978 World Cups

From the early 1970s onwards, the Dutch team finally began to deliver, thanks largely to Johan Cruyff and team coach, Rinus Michels, who introduced the concept of ‘totaalvoetbal’ (‘total football’) – a particularly fluid style of football in which players freely swap positions. As a result, the Dutch team not only qualified for the 1974 World Cup, they even managed to reach the final. Unfortunately, arch-rivals Germany proved too strong and the Netherlands were forced to settle for second place. By now though, the Dutch had a taste for glory and qualified for the 1978 World Cup, despite the fact that top players, Johan Cruyff and Willem van Hanegem, were absent from the squad. And once again Holland reached the finals, only to lose out on the ultimate prize, this time to Argentina.

The Dutch World Cup dip during the 1980s and 1990s

After their successes of the 1970’s, the Dutch national team experienced a World Cup ‘dip’. They failed to qualify for both the 1982 and the 1986 World Cups, and despite being Euro champions in 1988, didn’t achieve more than fourth place between 1990 and 2006.

The celebrated Dutch performance at the 2010 World Cup

The turning point for the Dutch football team came in 2010 – led by Dutch coach, Bert van Marwijk, the Netherlands stunned spectators around the world, winning match after match, even managing to defeat such formidable opponents as Brazil and Uruguay. However, yet again, the World Cup trophy cruelly eluded them at the last moment, after they suffered defeat by Spain in the final.

To this day, the Dutch still haven’t won a World Cup – that great Dutch hope now lies squarely at the feet of those currently representing the Netherlands at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil! So, come on…Hup, Holland, Hup!

Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit our sister blog, Heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?

 

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