Oranje matches for your Lockdown! Pt. 1

I think Andrew from California made the comment about classic matches?

I am happy he did. It was on my mind too (and to be honest: I already watched Spain – Holland 1-5 from 2014 again, last night)… What to do in a world without football? Revisit classic matches.

I will list some classic matches below.  I don’t have the links to these games, but I do believe YouTube will have them. Also this site here has some incredible info!

From my memory, the following matches are worth it.

1970s Club football

Feyenoord vs AC Milan and Feyenoord vs Celtic, when the Rotterdam club became the first to win the Europa Cup for The Netherlands!

Ajax won it three time in a row, after Feyenoord, with finals vs Panathinaikos, Inter Milan and Juve.

I don’t remember much of the games leading up to the finals for Ajax, but YouTube is your friend…

1970s Oranje at the World Cup

I am assuming we all know and have seen the Great Games Oranje played in 1974 and 1978. For students and scholars, it’s cool to watch all the matches of course and I know there are DVDs for sale and YouTube offers a lot too.

The three games to watch of the WC1974 are Oranje’s first match vs Uruguay. This is interesting, as this was the first time Oranje demonstrated their Total Football and even the Dutch fans and media were flabbergasted! We never saw Oranje play this well.

Don’t forget: The Netherlands shouldn’t have been there!! We played a qualifier to Belgium and we only qualified for the World Cup 1974 because of a real goal by Belgium was disqualified for off side.

The match vs Argentina is really good too, with Van Hanegem and Cruyff in superb form.

Lastly, the semi finals vs Brazil is an absolute cracker! Top goals, wonderful performances and gladiator style battles in midfield (Neeskens!!).

In 1977, Oranje played a famous match vs England at Wembley! The English loved to see Johan Cruyff, who was facing off with Kevin Keegan and Trevor Brooking. The Dutch had indeed Cruyff, Rep, Neeskens, Rensenbrink and Krol but it was young upstart from NEC Nijmegen Jan Peters (playing in the playmaker role deserted by an injured Van Hanegem) and Peters got the English all ecstatic with his perfect game and two goals (0-2). Peters would move to AZ Alkmaar and won the title there and reached the finals in the European Cup. He would later make a big move to Italy.

In 1978, without Cruyff and Van Hanegem, the Dutch started slowly but got to the finals anyway. With some outrageous long distance goals by Arie Haan and Ernie Brandts. Totally worth checking all these games, as it shows Oranje’s progress in the tournament.

Other Oranje Games from the 1980s

In the early 80s, we didn’t really play for the trophies! We had a dreadful 1980s Euros, we didn’t get to the Spain 1982 WC, or the 1986 WC in Mexico. We also missed the 1984 France Euros (both the 1982 and 1984 tournaments do stand out in my memory as top notch tournaments!).

In 1983, Holland played a famous qualification game vs Ireland (mentioned in the comments) in Dublin for the 1984 Euros. We didn’t end up going, but we had a massive break through in that match. We were 0-2 down. By then coach Rijvers was begged by fans to give the young guns of Ajax and Feyenoord a shot! There were the likes of Vanenburg, Rijkaard, Koeman and most particularly: Gullit and Van Basten. Rijkaard didn’t play this game, and Ruud Gullit played central defender! A role he played at PSV as well, later on, and he did so ever so well. Great strength, incredible long range passing and big runs over the axis of the field. This game was the rise of the youngsters! And finally Rijvers was confident enough to drop the like of Wijnstekers, Hovenkamp and Cees van Kooten for the young upstarts. The 2-0 half time score became a 2-3 win on a terrible pitch in Dublin.

In November of 1983, Holland played Spain at home and thanks to a Gullit winner, Holland had 1 leg into the 1984 Euros! Spain had one more home game vs Malta and needed to win 11-0 to qualify at the expense of Holland! That would never happen, right?

Holland won 5-0 vs Malta themselves and expected Spain to win with a similar score.

Only Cruyff and Van Hanegem, interviewed together, claimed that it wasn’t over yet and Spain would be able to score 11  goals vs Malta…

Infamously, the game was won (by Spain): 12-1!! And Malta had the first goal even! At half time, I think it was 1-1. Later on, it seemed Malta’s goalie was bribed and if you can stomach watching that game, you can tell why that story developed… Oranje was out!

This affected the qualification matches for the World Cup 1986 as well, with two early losses in qualification vs Hungary and Austria. Say what?

In November 1985, we played Belgium at home in Rotterdam. We would go to Mexico if we won 2-0 or more. I was there and remember the match also because my dad did his knee at walking to the stadium, which would be an injury right up to his death… We scored first, we scored the second… Houtman and Robbie de Wit. But only 5 mins left to go and right before us, Belgium defender George Grun slipped away from his marker and headed in the 2-1, meaning Belgium went to Mexico.

The next big memory re: Oranje would be the 1988 Euros. I’m sure you’ve seen the games?

All matches are worthwhile. The first match, Oranje lost vs the USSR but we played our best football of the whole tournament. But we lost. Coach Michels went from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 and took Bosman and Van’t Schip off, for Van Basten and Erwin Koeman. The rest is history. Memorable games: the 2-3 vs England. The 2-1 versus West Germany and the finals of course. The 1-0 win over Ireland is also special due to Kieft’s freak goal and the tremendous fortune of not conceding a penalty for a blocked header by Ireland, with a hand. We rode our luck that tournament, as Van Basten scored an off side goal vs England and England was denied a 100% penalty.





Bookmark and Share


  1. @Jan,

    The ’84 Spain match was a great recommendation. To see a young Gullit running out of the back is really a sight. What really struck me was the atmosphere in the stadium, though. Amazing. The fans literally looming over and crowding the the field, hanging over the railings, not an inch of room. Don’t you think there was more of a home field advantage (for all countries) back then? Makes me think that the NT should play all of its big games in Rotterdam. I know it won’t happen because the Amsterdam stadium has the modern amenities…but didn’t we see what an advantage De Kuip was in the France match?

  2. Hi All,
    greetings from Sacramento, CA. WE are in lock down too and I work from home. SO far so good. It looks like Eredivisie will not resume this year and AZ will take a second place. Not bad at all.

  3. lets go back to 2002 WC qualifiers where DUTCH failed to qualify under van gaal. was really disappointing especially with the golden generation on the brink of diminishing. how far would they they have gone or could they have won the 2002 WC if they would have qualified.Well they would have made out of the group for sure with either them or germany being group winners and runner up. round of 16 as well vs either spain and Paraguay. given the controversy of bias referring in the Italy and Skorea game and then turkey defeating the S koreans in 3rd and fourth, the dutch could have reached the semis and most probably met the germans again. I think that Brazil team that eventually won was a very powerful squad with kaka,Rivaldo,Ronaldo and Ronaldinho,carlos and even if the dutch side would have qualified for the final, they would have succumbed to defeat. so yeah they would have fall short again. another surprising outcome of the games was to that of the Portuguese who qualified as group leaders in the qualifiers but boomed out in the group stages. with the squad that Van Gaal inherited form Rijkaard, its just hard to swallow how it turned out and was his squad overrated like what happened in 2012.

    you can come to a conclusion when ever there has been high expectation for the dutch team , they haven’t been able to deliver it.

    1. Unfortunaelty we lost 2 games and drawn 2 vs a incredible protigal and Ireland…Those times Spain,Dutch,England,Ireland and Portugal were better teams in europe ii mean only teams who could challenge mighty brail of Ronaldo,rivaldo,Ronaldihni,carlos,cafu and co…unfortunaltly we were with portugal and irealnd at draw…Irish had fantastic journey portugal couldnt beat them…
      i felft van gaal was unlucky to have in that group..if we were in italy or germany or russia group we would have been unbeaten…we were lefet and right beating germany at those times…
      we missed it due to the quality of opponent we faced than unlucuk…
      But loosing Euro2016 with 3 spots in weak group is unmatched mistake of stupid hiddinksi and stupid Blind..
      Loosing 2018 Wc another blunder by blind…Playing BMI,klassen type of players with Basdost as striker nailed our any chance…
      LVG lost to warriors….
      Hiddinski and Blind lost like Donkeys…

      1. Like I said. Porgutal lost to both USA and South Korea and bombed out in group stages. The dutch couldnt beat them in either qualifiers. Does this throw spot light on what would have happened to the dutch if they would have qualified

        Also van gaal was out of job after being sacked by Barcelona prior to taking over from Rijkaard. Did the KNVB get it wrong appointing him especially with his declining season at Barcelona where he failed to win anything.1999-2000 season.

        Im kind of curious here because it all points to the conclusion that it was too early for him for NT job?

        1. @Wilson, Tiju,

          Re: 2002. Log time ago, now, but I’ve never subscribed to the theory that Ireland and Portugal were “great” teams. As Wilson points out, Portugal went out in the group stage; Ireland got out of a ridiculously easy group, and lost its first knockout game.

          As far as the NT, Van Gaal didn’t do a great job—he had a 2-0 lead late in Portugal, and made some bad substitutions, and I think it was Overmars who said that the individual players had so many specific instructions from him, that it slowed them down, too much thinking. That said, he wouldn’t be the first, nor will he be the last, to get things wrong. Doesn’t mean that over the course of his career he wasn’t a terrific coach.

          The other thing about the 2002 team is that although it was based in large part on the 1998-2000 team, it wasn’t the 1998-2000 team, the players were in decline, Bergkamp had left; (and unless I’m mistaken, Van Nistelrooy wasn’t available until late in the campaign because he was recovering from knee surgery) there was an injury/depth problem early in the campaign (when they were beaten 2-0 at home by Portugal), and at some point both Davids and Frank De Boer were suspended for performance enhancing drugs—and weren’t available for the final match in Ireland.

          So, LVG gets some deserved blame, but as with most things, it was a combination of factors.

          1. I was never really a fan of Pierre van Hooijdonk and seeing Jimmy flyod hasselbaink never get the recognition he deserved are some of my arguments from down the years as to why the dutch coaches are destined to fall short with the choices they make and over the years this trend as continued.Van Basten,Van Mawijk and Blind era.

            Watching Hasselbaink for Chelsea.


            You can only wonder how come he was just a shadow striker in the dutch team when he was a world class at chelsea.well yes Kluivert was the first choice at that time but then again the
            Coaches were not bold enough to play both together. Like what Hiddink did with van persie and huntelaar in 2014.

            I really would like to see any coach in future dutch or no dutch for that matter lift the curtain off the total football fanatasy which has become a legacy in nerthlands and advocate on modern day football.

          2. Just to add on hasselbaink context. I think Van gaal did play all Kluivert,hasselbaink,Van Nistelroy and van Hooijdonk together when he desperately went on search for the late equalizer vs Ireland but then he made the big mistake of taking out both zenden and overmars to accomdate all the four strikers.

          3. Portugal dethroned germany from 2000EC also same they did to England t Ec2000.Portugal was an incredible team…Eventually they almost won 2004EC…Portugaal was much nbetter than Italy,Germany and England…it was unfortunate that they had red card issues and colapsed inWC2002…But they were strong team…they were unbeaten in qualifiyling…
            Ireland did nt lost qa single game…Why did not they loose to Portugal???.They had macteer,Roy keane(who single handly destroyed us)…
            Ireland was excelent at WC..unfortunatly they had to meet one ofthe strong team spain at WC so they went out even with out Roy keane…
            it was level high stupidity to loss EC2016 and Wc2018 by two stupid coaches with lesser opponenets..

  4. https://youtu.be/uXPvo79s7HY

    This is one I was looking for. Look at the difference when you have wingers cutting inside to stretching the defense by going outside. The more area they cover and how well they complement the strikers.this was a young Robben before making that switch to the right.

    It has been a long time getting to see this and hopefully with the likes of Dilrosun,adekanye and chong coming up, we will once again get to see it again.

    1. Yes, I remember the 2004 Euro against Czech; Robben was brilliant that game. No question that he was so very dangerous on the left—if you want to see some wonderful duels, try to find clips of a PSV v. Ajax when Robben went at a young Nigel De Jong,playing rb (much leaner and quicker than before he developed into a defensive mid).

      OTH, as good as he was on the left, he was at a different level on the right; right up there with Ronaldo and Messi in that era in terms of forcing teams to tilt the field to his side (and he still scored even though everyone knew he was cutting inside). His performance at the 2014 WC was staggeringly good.

      Seems to me though that, everywhere,we are seeing less of an emphasis on pure wingers. The game is going more towards hybrid players—wide attackers, if you will—who, while they they may have a more dominant foot, can both play wide and come inside, and interchange with each other. That seems to be how many are developed these days, rather than with an emphasis on hugging the sideline and always looking to cross. As to your list, I’d say that Kluivert is also two-footed. Coming up from the U17, I think Braaf and Hansen fit that role. (Perhaps we are saying the same thing?)

      1. I think his dominance on the right was down fold at NT level compared to at Bayern where as you said he was on another level. Well obviously at bayern he was around more comptent players compared to NT but the coaches in NT simply took it for guaranteed and made him the focal point which never really complemented the team to the fullest especially with Huntelaar and Van Persie around, two of the finest strikers at the time.

        You look at Van Nistelroys era compared to van persie and huntelaar, in which one Robben complemented the team better.it was the Van Nistelroy era.

        I remember somebody asking the question, then how did it work at Bayern with Lewandoski around. At bayern it was never a one man show like what the situation was in NT . Lewandoski was serviced from all over the field and again it comes back to complementing part. Ribery,Alba,Muller and still today it existent.this is how he keeps piling up to 30 goals season after season.

        One can only wonder what would it had been like if Robben would have switched flanks with huntelaar upfront and probably lens or even van persie on the right. In my views this would have worked better like during Nistelroy era with a good blance in team. This is where I have been always critical about dutch coaches not looking outside of the box. Just my thoughts here.they only wake up when its either too late (vs portgual euro 2012 decider) or when there is injury crisis.

      1. Nothing to follow…i was watching Ugolsalvia vs Holland at Euro2000..Kluivert scored 4 gola sand he was nbenchd after 60 minute or so…Then Roy came in…i saw shit after that..There is a reason RVN and kluivert got name over Roy….He was another kuyt at those times,,,

  5. @Tiju,

    How are things for you over in India? Hope you are well.

    Knowing how you feel about Kuyt as a central striker, your comparison is not intended as a compliment. It was not his fault that he played in an era of Bergkamp, Kluivert, Hasselbaink, Van Hoojidonk. So no need to be harsh towards him. He had some very good years, scored alot of goals. Very good player. I don’t think you can draw too much from his performance as a 60th min. sub in a game in which the NT destroyed Yugoslavia in the first 30 minutes. The entire team took the foot off the gas.

    OT: I finished watching the entire 1984 qualifier in which NL defeated Spain 2-1 in Rotterdam, (after which the Dutch would have thought they had qualification in hand; then came Malta.) Fascinating to watch. Ronald Koeman played as a central midfielder, and showed real skills in that role, Vanenbourg was a guy to watch—such skill in tight spaces. The unquestionable star, however, was Gullit. Played Sweeper in the that game, and was all over the field. His athleticism was a level above everyone else’s. I forget just how good he was, probably the best player of that era, outside Maradona.

    1. Andrew thanks man…i am fine and staying at my village where sachin and crickers were ahiled and third class romatic movie herros…but its safe place,though my district is declared center in India for chinese virus..
      Then Roy makkay…i always felt he is lesser effcine finsher like kuyt..No accrobatic goals like RVN,kluivert or RVP..they need more clear cahnces to score while RVP,RVN and kluivert needs a half chnace to score…We never missed Roay makkay…i felt Vanhoojidonk was given another diamention to our attack than Floyed Gimmy and and makkay…..for me it was always Bergkamp,kluivert then sub as Vanhooijdonk

Join the Conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.