Brandts earned 28 caps and scored five goals for the Netherlands national football team and played in the 1978 FIFA World Cup. In a second-round match against Italy, he became the first and to date only player to score goals for both teams in the same match in the World Cup. He scored an own goal in the 18th minute, and then scored the equalizer for the Netherlands in the 50th minute. His teammate Arie Haan eventually scored the winning goal, giving the Netherlands a 2–1 win.
Brandts began as an assistant manager at PSV, and has managed FC Volendam and NAC Breda as well as clubs in Iran and Africa.
Halfway through the 2007-08 season, Brandts was informed that his contract as head trainer of NAC would not be extended, despite the best results (3rd position in 2007–08 Eredivisie) NAC Breda had seen for a long time. This decision was not taken lightly by the NAC Breda supporters - despite all the complaints the NAC top directors went ahead with their plan. Brandts was replaced by Robert Maaskant at the beginning of the 2008–2009 season.
He was appointed as the coach of Rah Ahan in summer of 2009. He had a few difficult months in Rah Ahan where there were many bad decisions against his team.[attribution needed] He lost important points in many matches in the last minutes and the team nearly dropped to the relegation zone. The club decided to sack him as the coach on 12 December 2009.