Netherlands national football team
|Association||Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond (KNVB)|
|Head coach||Louis van Gaal|
|Asst coach||Danny Blind
|Most caps||Edwin van der Sar (130)|
|Top scorer||Patrick Kluivert (40)|
|Home stadium||Amsterdam Arena (52,500)
De Kuip (51,137)
|Highest FIFA ranking||1 (August 2011 – September 2011)|
|Lowest FIFA ranking||25 (May 1998)|
|Highest Elo ranking||1 (Mar 1911 – Mar 1912, Jun 1912, Aug 1920; Jun 1978, Jun 1988 – Jun 1990, Jun–Sep 1992, Jun 2002, Jun–Sep 2003, Oct 2005, Jun 2008, Jul 2010.)|
|Lowest Elo ranking||56 (October 1954)|
| Belgium 1–4 Netherlands
(Antwerp, Belgium; 30 April 1905)
| Netherlands 11–0 San Marino
(Eindhoven, Netherlands; 2 September 2011)
| England Am. 12–2 Netherlands
(Darlington, England; 21 December 1907)
|Appearances||9 (First in 1934)|
|Best result||Runners-up, 1974, 1978 and 2010|
|Appearances||9 (First in 1976)|
|Best result||Winners, 1988|
The Netherlands National Football Team (Dutch: Nederlands nationaal voetbalelftal) has represented the Netherlands in association football since 1905. It is controlled by the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB), the governing body for football in the Netherlands.
The team is colloquially referred to as Het Nederlands Elftal (The Dutch Eleven) and Oranje, after the House of Orange-Nassau. The Dutch hold the record for playing the most World Cup finals without ever winning the final. They finished second in the 1974, 1978 and 2010 World Cups, losing to West Germany, Argentina and Spain respectively. They won the European Championship in 1988. At the peak of their success in the 1970s, the team was famous for its mastery of Total Football.
In August 2011, the team was ranked number 1 in the FIFA World Rankings, thus becoming the second national football team, after Spain, to top the rankings without previously winning a World Cup.
The Netherlands played their first international match in Antwerp against Belgium on 30 April 1905. The players were selected by a five-member commission from the Dutch football association. After 90 minutes, the score was 1–1, but because the match was for a trophy (the "Coupe van den Abeele"), the game went into extra time, in which Eddy de Neve scored three times, making the score 4–1 for the Dutch side.
Total Football in the 1970s 
The 1970s saw the invention of Total Football (Dutch: Totaalvoetbal), pioneered by Feyenoord and Ajax and led by playmaker Johan Cruyff and national team coach Rinus Michels. The Dutch made huge strides, qualifying for two World Cup finals in the decade. The captain of the Brazilian team that won the 1970 FIFA World Cup, Carlos Alberto, went on to say "The only team I’ve seen that did things differently was Holland at the 1974 World Cup in Germany. Since then everything looks more or less the same to me…. Their ‘carousel’ style of play was amazing to watch and marvellous for the game."
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 Munich, despite having gone 1–0 up through Johan Neeskens' early penalty kick before any German had even touched the ball. However, supported by the crowd, a converted penalty by Paul Breitner and the winner from Gerd Müller led to a victory for the Germans.
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 beaten by the host, this time 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 Johan Neeskens, Johnny Rep, Arie Haan, Ruud Krol, Wim Jansen, Jan Jongbloed, Wim Suurbier and Rob Rensenbrink from the 1974 selection. The Netherlands were less impressive in the group stages. They qualified 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. Unfortunately for the Dutch, Rensenbrink hit the Argentinian post in the last minute of normal time, with the score 1–1.
Failure: 1982–86 
Euro '80 was the last tournament for which the Total Football qualified, 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. Qualification for Euro 1984 was within reach, but the Dutch ended the campaign on the same number of points as rivals Spain, and the same goal difference (+16). Spain advanced having scored two more goals. The failure to reach the 1986 World Cup was also very close. In a play off with neighbours Belgium, the Netherlands lost 1–0 in Brussels, but were leading 2–0 in the home leg in Rotterdam with a few minutes remaining. Belgium scored to end the tie 2–1, and overall play off 2–2. Belgium advanced on the away goal rule.
European champions 
Rinus Michels returned to coach the team for the Euro '88 tournament. After losing the first group match against the Soviet Union (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 stated he 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 for the next three years after almost a decade in the wilderness.
Despite high expectations as the team entered the 1990 World Cup, the 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 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 to be van Basten's last major tournament as he suffered a serious ankle injury shortly after, eventually conceding defeat and retiring at the age of 30 in 1995.
In the 1994 World Cup, in the absence of the injured van Basten and the striking Gullit, Dennis Bergkamp led the team with three goals and the Netherlands advanced to the quarter-finals, where they lost 3–2 to eventual champions Brazil.
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 the 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 quarter-final, 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 60-yard (55 m) 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 third place match 2–1 to upstart Croatia. Soon after the World Cup exit manager Guus Hiddink resigned after two tournaments in charge and was replaced by legendary ex-midfielder Frank Rijkaard.
Netherlands co-hosted Euro 2000 with Belgium 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, Italy, 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 save in regulation time) to eliminate the Netherlands. Dennis Bergkamp, who failed to score during the tournament, retired from the national team after Euro 2000 (partly due to his fear of flying effectively ruling him out from the 2002 World Cup which was to be held in East Asia.) Coach Frank Rijkaard was widely criticized by the press after the defeat to the Italians as the Dutch had squandered several chances to kill the game. Rijkaard resigned, with Louis van Gaal taking over. Van Gaal is credited with initially bringing through the backbone of this Dutch side whilst manager of Ajax during the mid nineties, including Edwin van der Sar, Edgar Davids, Michael Reiziger, Clarence Seedorf, Marc Overmars, Patrick Kluivert and the De Boer twins.
Surprisingly the 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.
Dick Advocaat returned to coach the Netherlands for a second time and led the team to the semifinals of Euro 2004 but lost to Portugal and, after receiving criticism for his tactics and player changes, stepped down. This was to be the end for many of the team's World Cup veterans (mostly made up of the Ajax generation of 1995.) 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.
The Netherlands qualified for the 2006 World Cup in Germany and finished second in Group C after beating Serbia & Montenegro (1–0) and the Côte d'Ivoire (2–1) and drawing Argentina (0–0). Both Argentina and the Netherlands finished the group stage with seven 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 1–0 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.
The Netherlands began their Euro 2008 campaign with a win in Luxembourg on 2 September 2006. On 8 September 2007, the Oranje beat Bulgaria at the Amsterdam Arena on goals by Wesley Sneijder and Ruud van Nistelrooy. On 12 September 2007, the Netherlands won a hard fought victory against Albania, with van Nistelrooy scoring the winning goal in stoppage time. This win took the Dutch squad into second place in Group G, on par with Romania for points, but behind on goal differential. The Oranje were beaten 1–0 in Romania on 13 October 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 Split. 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 an 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 Bern 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. 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 equalizer by Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Under new coach Bert van Marwijk, the Dutch team went on to secure a 100 percent record in their World Cup 2010 qualification campaign, winning all eight games and becoming the first European team to qualify for the World Cup. The World Cup Draw in Cape Town on the 4 December 2009 saw the Dutch being placed alongside Denmark, Cameroon and Japan in Group E. On June 14 the Dutch won 2–0 against Denmark in their opener at the World Cup. On June 19 they then beat Japan 1–0 with a goal from Wesley Sneijder. They were the first team to qualify for the Round of 16 after a 2–1 victory from Denmark over Cameroon. In the first knockout round they faced Slovakia. At the end it was 2–1 victory after goals from Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder. The conceded goal came in injury time from a penalty taken by Róbert Vittek. They advanced to the semifinals with a 2–1 victory over the favoured Brazilians on July 2, 2010. Brazil, who had held a 1–0 lead at the half, was the favourite to win the cup, had never lost in 37 World Cup matches (35–0–2) in which they had held a halftime lead. The first Dutch goal was originally ruled an own goal by Felipe Melo, but was later officially changed to a goal by Wesley Sneijder. The second came from a corner kick headed into the net by Wesley Sneijder despite being the shortest player on the field. In the semi-final the Dutch beat Uruguay 3–2 to advance to their first World Cup final since 1978. The Dutch hoped to cap off an undefeated run through the World Cup, but lost to Spain 1–0 after midfielder Andres Iniesta scored in extra time. This final also became Giovanni van Bronckhorst's last match in professional football.
Euro 2012 
The Dutch went on after the World Cup tournament and started with the full score of 24 points from 8 matches in the UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.
In between the qualification matches, the team went on a trip to South America for rematches of the World Cup quarter and semi-finals against Brazil and Uruguay. Although the matches ended in draws, coach Bert van Marwijk saw it as "a good test for his players, to prove they were fit to overcome hostile circumstances also."
On 6 September 2011, the Dutch defeated Finland 2–0, ensuring a place at the Euro 2012, either as Group E winner or as the best runners-ups. They later secured the top spot in the group with a 1–0 win over Moldova.
The draw for the final tournament took place on 2 December 2011 at the Ukraine Palace of Arts in Kiev, Ukraine. Netherlands was placed in Group B along with Germany, Portugal, and Denmark, thus making it the group of death. On 17 June 2012, Netherlands lost to Portugal in a 2–1 defeat and exited the competition, having lost all three matches in the group. Johan Cruyff criticized the team's star players of poor build up play and sloppy execution of the easy passes.
|9 June 2012
|Netherlands||0–1||Denmark||Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv
Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia)
|13 June 2012
|Netherlands||1–2||Germany||Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv
Referee: Jonas Eriksson (Sweden)
|van Persie 73'||Report||Gómez 24', 38'|
|17 June 2012
|Portugal||2–1||Netherlands||Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)
|Ronaldo 28', 74'||Report||Van der Vaart 11'|
2014 FIFA World Cup 
On 30 July 2011 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup preliminary draw, the Netherlands were placed in Group D. They commence their qualifying campaign in late 2012 in a group that features contenders Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Estonia and Andorra
Recent and Upcoming Games 
KEY: WCQ2014 = 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
The Netherlands national football team famously plays in bright orange shirts. 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 white, with a red patch surrounding the badge and continuing to the top of the left shoulder, and a blue patch at the right bottom of the kit.
Kit history 
Competitive record 
FIFA World Cup record 
UEFA European Championship record 
Summer Olympics 
- *Denotes draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
- **Gold background colour indicates that the tournament was won.
- ***Red border colour indicates tournament was held on home soil.
Coaching staff 
|Manager||Louis van Gaal|
|Assistant Manager||Danny Blind|
|Assistant Manager||Patrick Kluivert|
|Goalkeeping Coach||Frans Hoek|
|Fitness Coach||Rene Wormhoudt|
|Team Manager||Hans Jorritsma|
|Head Scout||Ronald Spelbos|
|Other Staff||Rob Koster|
|Carlo De Leeuw|
|U-21 Manager||Cor Pot|
|U-19 Manager||Wim van Zwam|
|U-17 Manager||Albert Stuivenberg|
Current squad 
Caps and goals updated as March 26, 2013 after the match against Romania.
Recent call-ups 
The following players have been called up for the team in the last 12 months.
INJ Player withdrew from the squad due to an injury
Previous squads 
Past managers 
Individual all-time records 
Most capped players 
Source: voetbalstats.nl (Dutch)
Most goals scored 
Last updated: 6 February 2013
See also