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National Netherlands Soccer Team – History of Oranje

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In the past, the Netherlands soccer team has performed admirably at the FIFA World Cup, even though they never won one. In fact, Holland is one of the top ten countries in terms of performance in this final tournament. 

Furthermore, Holland finished among the top four teams in the tournament four times: in 1974, 1978, and 2010, the Dutch national team lost in the World Cup final, while in 1998, it finished fourth after losing to Brazil on penalty kicks in the semi-final. 

Before Qatar 2022, let us remind ourselves of the best national football teams that ever performed in the World Cup, so read on about The Dutch Eleven! 

Why is Dutch National Team Called Oranje?

The Netherlands soccer team is known as Oranje, which translates to “orange.”

The national team is followed around by an army of sports fans known as the ‘Orange Legion’ wherever they play (Dutch: Oranje Legioen). Everywhere they go, they turn stadiums, streets, and bars orange.

Local camping grounds have been transformed into ‘Camp Orange’ by supporters. When possible, fans march from a central location to the stadium where their team plays.

Win or lose, Dutch soccer fans (or football fans to Americans) are known for enthusiastically supporting the Orange team.

A few years ago, the women’s Netherlands soccer team (Dutch: Nederlands vrouwenvoetbalelftal) performed admirably in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (played in 2021 due to Coronavirus pandemic).

The team’s nickname, ‘Orange Lionesses’ (Dutch: Oranje Leeuwinnen), is derived from the Royal Dutch Football Association’s (KNVB) logo, which features a lion. The lion is the national and royal animal of the Netherlands. To read more about Dutch national football team color, read this article

Holland vs. West Germany in the 1974 World Cup

In the 1970s, Dutch football flourished. Total football was introduced to the world by Rinus Michels, and with legendary player Johan Cruyff on the team, the Dutch were a formidable opponent. 

Holland swept aside opponents such as Brazil and Argentina by employing attacking football and quick combinations, as well as scoring spectacular goals. The Dutch national team appeared to be on its way to becoming world champions, but West Germany spoiled the party by defeating Holland in the final 2-1.

Holland vs. Argentina in the 1978 World Cup

Four years after losing in Germany, the Dutch national team was on the verge of winning again in Argentina. Coach Ernst Happel had assembled a Dutch team capable of reaching the final despite the absence of Johan Cruyff. The Netherlands took on the role of the host country. The Argentines scored two goals in extra time to win the final 3-1.

Holland vs. Spain in the 2010 World Cup

South Africa hosted the 2010 World Cup. Coach Bert van Marwijk’s team played attacking, focused football, winning every game on its way to the final. After 32 years, Holland was back in the World Cup finals, this time against Spain. Spain scored the only goal of the game, with Andres Iniesta scoring in extra time, sending Holland home empty-handed for the third time.

When the Netherlands soccer team returned home, they were greeted as if they had won the final. More than 700,000 Holland fans lined the canals and gathered in Amsterdam’s central square Museumplein to applaud the successful national team’s outstanding performance.

World Cup 2014: Holland vs. Brazil

Brazil hosted the 2014 World Championship. The Netherlands soccer team was led by Louis van Gaal and performed admirably throughout the tournament. Before the World Championship, there were few expectations that Orange would go far. The team was in a strong group and began their campaign against former world champion Spain (from which they lost the final in 2010). 

Their first match, on the other hand, exceeded all expectations and has had the international press talking. The Orange team defeated Spain 5-1. Following this victory, they defeated Australia (3-2) and Chile (2-0), finishing first in their group. The Dutch team defeated Mexico (2-1) and Costa Rica (penalties: 4-3) before facing Argentina in the semi-finals. Unfortunately, their World Cup dream was dashed when penalties resulted in a 2-4 loss to Holland. Orange defeated Brazil in the third-place playoff, claiming bronze in the 2014 World Championship. The Orange team performed admirably, and Holland is proud of its 2014 team.

Choosing the Netherlands’ All-Time World Cup 11

Despite never winning the World Cup, the Netherlands has appeared in three finals: 1974, 1978, and 2010. In 1998, they reached the semi-finals before losing on penalties to Brazil, and in 2014 they finished third by beating Brazil in a third-place game.

Needless to say, the teams that participated in these impressive runs had some outstanding players. The Dutch have left their mark on World Cup history, from Johan Cruyff to Dennis Bergkamp.

Here, we put together a team of the best Dutch players who have competed in a World Cup. The XI will line up in a 4-3-3 formation in true total-football fashion.

Edwin van der Sar – Goalkeeper

Edwin van der Sar can reflect on a successful club career, having won the Champions League with Ajax and Manchester United.

But Van der Sar is also proud of his international career; he was part of the team that reached the World Cup semi-finals in 1998, alongside players like Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Kluivert.

During this tournament, Van der Sar assisted his country in defeating Argentina in the quarterfinals by provoking Ariel Ortega into a headbutt.

Above all, Van der Sar was a fantastic shot-stopper, providing defensive stability while passing and receiving the ball during build-ups.

Gregory van der Wiel: Right-Back

During the 2010 World Cup, right-back Gregory van der Wiel was one of the tournament’s most exciting young players.

The Ajax youngster was a constant attacking threat, providing width up front and allowing right-winger Arjen Robben to cut inside.

After the tournament, Van der Wiel was immediately linked with several European clubs. In 2012, he left Ajax for Paris Saint-Germain.

Van der Wiel’s career was defined by his performance in the 2010 World Cup. The current Dutch defense can only hope for a similar performance.

Frank de Boer: Centre-Back

When the Netherlands soccer team faced Argentina in the World Cup quarterfinals in 1998, the score was 1-1 with only a few minutes remaining.

Frank de Boer, the center-back, received the ball at the back. He walked up front after deciding to go for the long ball rather than a more careful and considered build-up.

Dennis Bergkamp demonstrated his technical brilliance by receiving the ball in mid-air, knocking it through experienced defender Roberto Ayala’s legs, and scoring one of the most iconic World Cup goals of all time.

Frank de Boer, the ultimate ball-playing defender, deserves a place in the Netherlands’ all-time best XI.

Jaap Stam: Centre-Back

Jaap Stam, a powerful and no-nonsense stopper, would complement Frank de Boer’s ball-playing ability.

Stam, who has played for Manchester United, AC Milan, and Ajax, was De Boer’s partner during the 1998 World Cup when the Dutch reached the semi-finals.

Stam was the type of defender that any team would be happy to have. He was a towering presence with a respected personality.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst: Left-Back

Giovanni van Bronckhorst, a brilliant full-back who was always forward-bombing, was one of the greatest Dutch players of all time.

Van Bronckhorst, who previously played for Glasgow Rangers, Arsenal, and Barcelona, was a key member of the team that reached the World Cup final in 2010.

During that tournament, Van Bronckhorst made Dutch history by scoring an absolute screamer against Uruguay in the semi-final.

It was a well-deserved farewell gift for Van Bronckhorst, the Oranje’s captain at the time, who retired from football after the tournament.

Johan Neeskens: Central Midfielder

Johan Neeskens began his career as a right-back at Ajax before becoming Johan Cruyff’s midfield lieutenant in the Dutch team that took the world by storm with their “Total Football” during the 1974 World Cup.

Whereas Cruyff was the team’s free playmaker, Neeskens was the box-to-box midfielder, assisting Cruyff in the build-up and cleaning up defensively behind him.

Neeskens excelled at one thing in particular: penalty kicks. The midfielder would shoot them straight through the center with the force of a cannonball, always fooling the goalkeeper, as he did in the first minute of the tournament above the final.

Willem van Hanegem: Central Midfielder

Willem van Hanegem’s nickname in the Netherlands is “The Crooked One” because he appeared to be leaning forward while dribbling at times.

Above all, he is highly regarded for his football abilities. Van Hanegem’s impeccable passing skills will be remembered as one of the few standout Feyenoord players in a team dominated by Ajax’s style of play.

Johan Cruyff: Attacking Midfielder

As one of history’s most famous and iconic footballers, Johan Cruyff must be included in the Netherlands’ all-time World Cup XI.

Cruyff and Oranje reached the World Cup final in 1974. The Dutch did not win, but their legacy of “Total Football” lives on to this day.

Given that the Dutch were never truly competitive before the 1970s, it’s difficult to overestimate the role that the legendary No. 14 played in putting his country on the map.

Cruyff will play as a No. 10 and playmaker in this lineup, supported and relieved of defensive duties by Van Hanegem and Neeskens.

Arjen Robben: Right-Winger

The Dutch prefer to play 4-3-3 whenever possible. As a result, they’ve produced a number of excellent wingers. Arjen Robben is possibly the greatest of all time.

Robben began his career as a more traditional left-winger but, in recent years, has evolved into a right-winger who likes to cut inside to shoot at the goal.

Robben was among the most important players responsible for the successes in 2010 and 2014.

Dennis Bergkamp: Striker

As Arsenal fans are well aware, Dennis Bergkamp is undoubtedly one of the most admired footballers to have played for the Netherlands.

Bergkamp, a creator and finisher, was a key member of the Netherlands team that reached the World Cup semi-finals in 1998.

Bergkamp’s most memorable World Cup moment came in 1998 when he scored one of the most memorable goals of all time in a quarterfinal match against Argentina.

Marc Overmars: Left-Winger

During the 1998 World Cup, Bergkamp was usually paired up front with striker Patrick Kluivert. Marc Overmars was a regular on the left wing.

Overmars, who played for Ajax, Arsenal, and Barcelona, was a traditional winger who liked to beat his man and cross from the byline.

What do you think about the Netherlands Soccer Team? Tell us in the comments if you think we missed something important, your AmazonSportsbookCenter.

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