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The Netherlands national football team is the national football team of the Netherlandsmarker and is controlled by the Royal Netherlands Football Association. It won Euro 88 and reached two consecutive World Cup finals in 1974 and 1978 but lost both finals to their respective host nations, West Germany and Argentina. At the peak of its success in the 1970s, the team was famous for its mastery of Total Football and was nicknamed "Clockwork Oranje" for its precision passing. In many countries and even the Netherlands itself, the team is colloquially referred to as "Hollandmarker". It is currently ranked 3rd in the FIFA World Rankings and 3rd in the World Football Elo Ratings.


Dutch squad for their first international match
The Netherlands played their first international match in Antwerpmarker against Belgium on 30 April 1905 and won 1-4

The Netherlands made their first appearance at the World Cup final tournament in 1934, and after coming back in 1938, the Dutch national team entered the wilderness of world football.

History to 1970

Not until a shift to a national league and full professionalism in the 1950s did the fortunes of the Netherlands improve at both club and international level. In the 1958 World Cup qualifiers, they finished 2 points behind Austria, having lost 3–2 in Vienna after leading 2–0. The team saw continuous improvement throughout the 1960s.

Total Football

They came out of this wilderness in the 1970s with the invention of Total Football ( ), pioneered by Ajax and led by playmaker Johan Cruijff and national team coach Rinus Michels. The Dutch made huge strides, qualifying for two World Cup finals in the decade.

In 1974, the Netherlands beat both Brazil and Argentina in the second group stage, reaching the final for the first time in their history. However, the team lost to West Germany in the final in Munichmarker, despite having gone 1–0 up through Johan Neeskens' early penalty kick before any German had even touched the ball. The Dutch were trying to embarrass the Germans at home while they were only up 1–0. This would prove their undoing. Supported by the crowd, a converted penalty by Paul Breitner and the late game-winner from Gerd Müller led to a victory for the Germans. In spite of losing the final, the "Clockwork Orange" and Johan Cruijff had already written a new page in football's history.

By comparison, Euro 76 was a disappointment. The Netherlands lost in the semi-finals to Czechoslovakia, as much because of fighting within the squad and the coach George Knobel, as well as the skill of the eventual winners.

In 1978, the Netherlands again reached the final of a World Cup, only to be again beaten by the hosts, Argentina. This side played without Johan Cruijff, Willem van Hanegem and Jan van Beveren, who refused to participate in the World Cup. It still contained players such as Johan Neeskens, Johnny Rep, Arie Haan, Ruud Krol and Rob Rensenbrink from the 1974 selection. This time the Netherlands were less impressive in the group stages, as they qualified only as runners-up, after a draw with Peru and a loss to Scotland. In the second group phase, however, the Netherlands topped a group including Italy and West Germany, setting up a final with Argentina. However, the Dutch finished as runners up for the second World Cup in a row as they ultimately lost 3–1 after two extra time goals from Argentina. Agonisingly for the Dutch, Rensenbrink hit the Argentinian post in the last minute of normal time, with the score 1–1.

Euro 80 was the last tournament that the generation of Total Football qualified for, but they did not advance past the group stage, despite the tournament format being expanded that year. Veterans such as Krol and Rensenbrink retired soon afterwards and the Netherlands missed the 1982 World Cup, Euro 84, and the 1986 World Cup in succession.

European Champions

Rinus Michels returned to coach the team for the Euro 88 tournament. After losing the first group match against the USSR (1–0), the Netherlands went on to qualify for the semi-final by defeating England 3–1 (with a hat-trick by the tournament's top scorer Marco van Basten), and Republic of Ireland (1–0). For many Dutch football supporters, the most important match in the tournament was the semi-final against West Germany, the host country, considered a revenge for the lost 1974 World Cup final (also in West Germany). Marco van Basten, who would later become national team coach, scored in the 89th minute of the game to sink the German side. The game is also remembered for its post-match shenanigans, including Ronald Koeman, who, in front of the German supporters, provocatively pretended to wipe his backside with the shirt of Olaf Thon as if it were toilet paper, an action Koeman later regretted. The Netherlands won the final with a convincing victory over the USSR, a rematch on the round robin game, through a header by Ruud Gullit and a volley by Van Basten. This was the national team's first major tournament win and it restored them to the forefront of international football after almost a decade in the wilderness.

Despite high expectations as the team entered the 1990 World Cup, that tournament was not a success. Van Basten failed to score, as he was frequently marked by opposing defenders, while Gullit was ineffective having not fully recovered from injury. The Dutch managed to advance despite drawing all three group games, meeting their arch-rivals West Germany in the round of 16. The match is most remembered for the spitting-incident involving Frank Rijkaard and Rudi Völler as the Netherlands lost 2–1.

The team subsequently reached the semi-finals in the Euro 92, which was noted for the emergence of Dennis Bergkamp, but they were eliminated by eventual champions Denmark, with Van Basten's kick in the penalty shootout being saved by Peter Schmeichel. This was also Van Basten's last major tournament, as he retired shortly after due to injury.

In the 1994 World Cup, Dennis Bergkamp led the team with 3 goals and the Netherlands advanced to the quarter-finals, where they lost 3–2 to eventual champions Brazil.

1998 World Cup and Euro 2000

Dutch supporters

At Euro 96, after drawing 0–0 with Scotland and beating Switzerland 2–0, they faced the hosts England in the pool A decider, with both teams on 4 points. After 62 minutes, with Scotland beating Switzerland 1–0, The Netherlands were 4–0 down and looked like finishing third behind Scotland on goal difference and going out of the tournament, but Patrick Kluivert converted a Dennis Bergkamp assist and scored in the 78th minute to see the Dutch finish second on goals scored. They then played France in the quarter-finals, drawing 0–0 and being eliminated 5–4 on penalties.

In 1998 World Cup, Netherlands, whose team included Marc Overmars, Phillip Cocu, Edgar Davids, Frank de Boer, Ronald de Boer and Patrick Kluivert, met Argentina in the quarterfinal, a rematch of the 1978 final. Near the end of regular time, after an unsuccessful dive to draw a penalty, Argentinian Ariel Ortega head-butted Edwin van der Sar. Ortega was sent off and the Netherlands won 2-1 after a Bergkamp goal in the 89th minute. Bergkamp's goal was famous because of its quality--he touched down a pass from Frank de Boer then reverse-flicked it inside Roberto Ayala and finally volleyed it past the Argentine goalkeeper. In the semi-final, the Netherlands took Brazil to a penalty shootout after a late Kluivert goal tied the match 1–1, but Brazil won the shootout 4–2 and advanced to the final. Netherlands lost the 3rd place match 2–1 to upstart Croatia.

Netherlands co-hosted Euro 2000 with Belgiummarker and were one of the favourites coming into the tournament. Getting all three wins in the group stage, including a win over reigning World Cup champions France, they then crushed Yugoslavia 6–1 in the quarter-finals, with Kluivert getting a hat-trick. In the semi-finals, their opponents, Italymarker, went down to ten men in the first half and the Netherlands were awarded two penalty kicks but failed to convert either chance. Italian goalkeeper Francesco Toldo made two saves in the shootout (in addition to his penalty saves in regulation time) to eliminate the Netherlands. Coach Frank Rijkaard was widely criticized by the press as the Dutch had squandered several chances to kill the game and he resigned, with Louis van Gaal taking over. Dennis Bergkamp retired from the national team after Euro 2000, having failed to score during the tournament.


Netherlands failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup, with crucial losses to Portugal and the Republic of Ireland, the latter of which eliminated them from the Finals tournament. Van Gaal resigned at the conclusion of the Netherlands' unsuccessful campaign.

Netherlands reached the semifinals of Euro 2004 but lost to Portugal. Coach Dick Advocaat was criticized for his tactics and player changes and stepped down after the tournament. Also, many of the team's World Cup veterans like Frank and Ronald de Boer, Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf, Marc Overmars, Jaap Stam, and Patrick Kluivert had either retired or were not selected for the upcoming World Cup by new coach Marco van Basten.

Training in Germany
The Netherlands qualified for the 2006 World Cup in Germany and finished second in Group C after beating Serbia & Montenegro (1-0) and the Ivory Coast (2-1) and drawing Argentina (0-0). Both Argentina and the Netherlands finished the group stage with 7 points, but the Argentinians had a superior goal difference and finished first as a result. The Dutch were eliminated in the second round after losing 0-1 to Portugal, in a match that produced 16 yellow cards (which matched the World Cup record for most cautions in one game set in 2002) and set a new World Cup record of four red cards (two for either side) and was nicknamed "the Battle of Nuremberg" by the press. Despite criticism surrounding his selection policy and the lack of attacking football from his team, Marco van Basten was offered a two-year extension to his contract by the Dutch FA, which would allow him to serve as national coach during Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup. The move was widely regarded as a vote of confidence in Van Basten and his assistants by the KNVB officials.

Euro 2008

The Netherlands began their Euro 2008 campaign with a win in Luxembourg on 2 September 2006. On September 8, 2007 the Oranje beat Bulgaria at the Amsterdam Arenamarker on goals by Wesley Sneijder and Ruud van Nistelrooy. On September 12, 2007, the Netherlands won a hard fought victory against Albania, with Ruud van Nistelrooy scoring the winning goal in stoppage time. This win takes the Dutch squad into second place in group G, on level with Romania for points, but behind on goal differential. The Oranje were beaten 1-0 in Romania on October 13, 2007, but four days later the Netherlands' 2-0 victory over Slovenia, while rivals Bulgaria could only draw in Albania, left the Dutch needing one win from their last two games, at home to Luxembourg and away to Belarus, to qualify for Euro 2008.

The Netherlands played their first game in 2008 against Croatia in Splitmarker. The team, without Ruud van Nistelrooy, Robin van Persie, Clarence Seedorf, Orlando Engelaar, and Arjen Robben, won the match 3-0. The first goal was scored by John Heitinga on a header, while Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored the second goal on assist from Tim de Cler. The final goal came from Celtic striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink. The team used a new formation under Marco van Basten, scrapping the previously used 4-3-3 formation for a 4-2-3-1.

The Dutch team was a participant in the 'group of death', together with France, Italy and Romania. They began Euro 2008 with a 3–0 win over World Cup Champion Italy in Bernemarker on 9 June 2008. This was the Netherlands' first victory over Italy since 1978. In their second group match against France on 13 June 2008, the Netherlands won convincingly with a 4–1 score after a poor first half (1-0 at half time). The Dutch closed out an incredible group stage campaign with a 2–0 win over Romania. However, they lost in the quarter-final to former coach Guus Hiddink's Russia by 3–1, despite a late 86th minute equaliser by Ruud van Nistelrooy. The Russians ended the Dutch run with two goals in extra time.

2010 World Cup qualification

Last and next games

KEY: F = Friendly match; WCQ2010 = 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification


Coat of arms of the Netherlands
The Netherlands national football plays in a bright orange shirt. Orange is the historic national colour of the Netherlands, originating from the coat of arms of the Dutch founding father William of Orange-Nassau. The top red band of the current flag was originally orange. The current Dutch away shirt is "nassau blue", with a small trim on the chest containing the colors of the Dutch flag.

Nikemarker is the kit provider to the national team, a sponsorship that began in 1996 and is contracted to continue until at least 2018.

Competitive record

World Cup record

Year Round Position GP W D* L GS GA
1930 Did Not Enter - - - - - - -
1934 Round 1 9 1 0 0 1 2 3
1938 Round 1 14 1 0 0 1 0 3
1950 Did Not Enter - - - - - - -
1954 Did Not Enter - - - - - - -
1958 Did Not Qualify - - - - - - -
1962 Did Not Qualify - - - - - - -
1966 Did Not Qualify - - - - - - -
1970 Did Not Qualify - - - - - - -
1974 Final 2 7 5 1 1 15 3
1978 Final 2 7 3 2 2 15 10
1982 Did Not Qualify - - - - - - -
1986 Did Not Qualify - - - - - - -
1990 Round of 16 15 4 0 3 1 3 4
1994 Quarter-finals 7 5 3 0 2 8 6
1998 Fourth place 4 7 3 3* 1 13 7
2002 Did Not Qualify - - - - - - -
2006 Round of 16 11 4 2 1 1 3 2
2010 Qualified - - - - - - -
2014 - - - - - - - -
Total 9/19 2 Finals 36 16 10 10 59 38

European Championship record

Year Round GP W D* L GS GA
1960 Did not Enter - - - - - -
1964 Did not qualify - - - - - -
1968 Did not qualify - - - - - -
1972 Did not qualify - - - - - -
1976 Third place 2 1 0 1 4 5
1980 Round 1 3 1 1 1 4 4
1984 Did not qualify - - - - - -
1988 Champions 5 4 0 1 8 3
1992 Semi-Final 4 2 2* 0 6 3
1996 Quarter-Finals 4 1 2* 1 3 4
2000 Semi-Final 5 4 1* 0 13 3
2004 Semi-Final 5 1 2* 2 7 6
2008 Quarter-Finals 4 3 0 1 10 4
2012 - - - - - - -
Total 8/13 32 17 8 7 55 32

Summer Olympics

*Draws include knockout matches decided by penalty shootout.
**Gold background color indicates that the tournament was won. Red border color indicates tournament was held on home soil.

Current squad

The following players have been called up for the friendly match against Italy on November 14, 2009 and for the friendly match against Paraguay on November 18, 2009.

Caps and goals as of October 10, 2009

Recent call ups

The following players have been called up for the team in the last 12 months.

Past managers

Individual all-time records

Most matches played

Most goals scored

See also


External links


Friendly titles

  • Winners (1): 1997
Edwin van der Sar
1995 – 2008
Frank de Boer
1990 – 2004
Phillip Cocu
1996 – 2006
Giovanni van Bronckhorst
1996 – present
Clarence Seedorf
1994 – 2008
Marc Overmars
1993 – 2004
Aron Winter
1987 – 2000
Ruud Krol
1969 – 1983
Patrick Kluivert
1994 – 2004
Dennis Bergkamp
1990 – 2000
Patrick Kluivert
1994 – 2004
Dennis Bergkamp
1990 – 2000
Faas Wilkes
1946 – 1961
Abe Lenstra
1940 – 1959
Johan Cruyff
1966 – 1977
Ruud van Nistelrooy
1998 – 2008
Beb Bakhuys
1928 – 1937
Kick Smit
1935 – 1946
Marco van Basten
1983 – 1992
Leen Vente
1933 – 1940

  • Nasazzi's Baton:
    • Winners (7): 1978, 1985, 1986, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2009

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