The Netherlands national football team is without a doubt one of the biggest tournament losers of all time, after reaching for the most finals without ever wining (1974, 1978 and 2010).
Despite those loses the Dutch team is always considered as a contender to win the tournament. Their rise to this position is attributed among others to the legendary coach Rinus Michels. Michels had several tenures as the coach of the team and is credited with the invention of the Total Football theory during the 70's. This tactical style of play was based on the ability of the players to switch positions on the pitch depending on the field situation with extra efficiency.
The most famous player who played for The Oranje team (as they are nicknamed after the Orange-Nassau royalty from the 16 century) was (and still is) Johan Cruyff. With spectaculars abilities on the pitch he led the team for their first ever World Cup Final in Germany 1974. In this unforgettable match they lost to West Germany 1-2 after taking the lead at the 2nd minute before the Germans even touched the ball. The Dutch goal came from a penalty scored by Johan Neeskens following a foul by the German defender Hoenes on Cruyff after his solo run to the Germans penalty box.
The Dutch team qualified for the upcoming tournament quite easily with excellent performance which included 9 wins out of 10 matches without losing. Robin Van Persie was the top goals scorer with 11 goals.
The most capped player in the history of the team is the magnificent goalkeeper Edwin Van Der Sar with 130 appearances while Robin Van Perise (playing for Manchester United) is the top goal scorer with 41 goals.
With a phenomenal past players as Marco Van Basten, Frank Rijkaard, Ruud gullit and Dennis Bergkamp and the fact that the current team is led by some of the most skillful players in Europe, the Dutch has a great chance to go at least all the way to the Quarter Final.
Did you know?
While coaching FC Barcelona during the 1998-1999 seasons, Louis van Gaal (the current Netherlands coach), had no less than 8 Dutch players in the Spanish team's squad.
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