If you’ve been listening to the daily World Cup Buzz Podcast since it debuted in mid May, you’ll know how frustrated Richard, Laurence and Kartik have been with the performance by the Netherlands team. And I echo the same concerns. The team has achieved so much to get to the final and has shown flashes of brilliance along the way, but it’s not the type of Dutch team that is going to win games in a beautiful manner.
So, I thought it’d be a good idea to delve into the archives and to find some examples of how the Dutch teams of the past tantalized us with their incredible skill and attacking prowess. I’ve compiled a collection of videos from the 1974 and 1978 World Cup tournaments as well as one from the 1988 European Championship.
Here they are:
1974 World Cup tournament
This was the one where the Netherlands should have won the World Cup. With a team featuring stars such as Johan Cruyff, Johan Neeskens, Ruud Krol, Johnny Rep, Wim Suurbier, Rene van der Kerkhof and many others. They played a brand of soccer called Total Football, which was built on the premise that a player who moves out of position is replaced by another member of the team, thus retaining the team’s intended organizational structure.
Netherlands made it through to the final of the 1974 World Cup where they played host country West Germany. Within the first few minutes of the game, the English referee Jack Taylor awarded a penalty to Netherlands – the first penalty ever awarded in a World Cup Final. However, Taylor was criticized for failing to hand out yellow cards to German players who committed several serious fouls on Dutch players. The only German that day to be yellow carded was Berti Vogts in relation to the first penalty called in the game.
1978 World Cup tournament
Agonizing for the Dutch, they made it through to the 1978 World Cup Final and almost won the game when in the final minute of regulation time, Rob Rensenbrink hit the post. If the ball had gone in, the Netherlands would have won the 1978 World Cup. Instead, the game went into extra time and Argentina grabbed two late goals to win it 3-1.
1988 European Championship
Holland’s Total Football was long gone, but the 1988 Dutch team featured a stellar side of players including Ruud Gullit (with long hair), Marco van Basten and Ronald Koeman. This was a side that was not at the level of 1974 or 1978, but the Netherlands still went on to win the 1988 European Championship with one of the goals of the century courtesy of van Basten.