Holland is back

  1. A matter of luck?
  2. The dark years
  3. Promising present and future

A matter of luck?

Holland has come close to glory on various occasions but for one reason or another, the desired World Cup has never become a reality. The Dutch have played three finals throughout their history, in 1974, 1978 and 2010. Players like Johan Cruyff, Van Basten, Ruud Gullit or Johan Neeskens have indeed left their mark in football history, but they were never able to lead their country to glory. A European tournament back in 1988 is the squad’s only major trophy.

The last time the team was close to winning the World Cup was back in 2010; Holland didn’t start the tournament as one of the favourites but ended up playing the final in Johannesburg against Spain. Netherlands came really close and only a sensational performance by Spain’s goalkeeper Iker Casillas and a goal in the final minutes of extra time by Andrés Iniesta left them without the desired trophy.

Considering that Holland has marveled the world with its unique football and players throughout the years, it seems like a poor record only to have one major trophy on their behalf.   

The dark years

The World Cup held in Brazil in 2014 was the last time the Netherlands played an important role in a competition, this time it was the penalty shootout against Argentina what left them without the chance of playing their fourth final.

From then on we can resume Holland’s performance in one word: complete disaster. The Dutch failed to qualify for Euro 2016 held in France and for the 2018 World Cup organized by Russia, the first time they were out since 2002.

Missing out two consecutive major tournaments for the team has been frustrating and humiliating for both team and country. Was this the end of an era for Holland? The future didn’t seem too bright but then Ronald Koeman took charge of the national team and the story has indeed changed. Now Holland is one of the favourites to win next summer’s European tournament.

Holland World Cups

Promising present and future

After failing to qualify for Russia 2018, the Dutch federation signed Ronald Koeman as their new manager, the eighth manager they had signed it the last 7 years, and the former FC Barcelona star had a really good impact.

Koeman’s objective was really clear; the squad had to regain its prestige in the football world. In the first chance they had, Holland stood up to the occasion and came really close to winning the Nations League, a brand new competition organized by UEFA. Holland obviously didn’t part as favourites but managed to reach the final, however, we all know how that normally turns out; Holland was once again defeated in a final, this time by Portugal.

Regardless of the result, Holland has started to display a fast attractive football. Young players like De Ligt, Frenkie De Jong, Van de Beek or Justin Kluivert are the present and future of Dutch football. If in addition to that we add a world-class player like Van Dijk, Holland is now a squad that can fight for the Euro 2020 title, or in other words, the Dutch are finally back.