Only 35 days to go!! And to warm us all up, some more venturing down memory lane. We’ve arrived at 1994. The US World Cup. That disappointing tournament. We were knocked out in the quarter finals and only Advocaat thought that to be a decent result.
What a deception this was, in particular for me ( most fans thought it was alright I guess). But this sort of got me off football for a while…
As a kid, I had to process losing as the Best Team in 1974 and losing because the powers-that-be wanted Argentina to win in 1978. In 1988 we finally won something only to screw it up massively in 1990.
In 1992, we regained some respect ( the Germany game, anyone?) in the EC Sweden and the World Cup in 1994 was supposed to be ours.
Because after the drama that was 1990 – in which megalomanic Michels picked Bully Beenhakker instead of JC – it seemed totally outrageous that the KNVB would ignore our Number 14 again!
So, we would go to the USA, with Johan as the coach, Tonny Bruins Slot as his scout and most likely Ron Spelbos and Wim Jansen as assistant coaches.
But no, the Federation determined. Cruyff is too high maintenance. He doesn’t accept KNVB assistant Bert van Lingen as his right hand man. He wants to pick his own physios. He claims a lot of money. Fook ‘m.
Let’s pick Dick Advocaat. Hey… Advocaat…? Wasn’t he the assistant to Michels in 1992. Wow, what a coincidence, eh?
But wasn’t Advocaat lacking in the interpersonal skills? Isn’t choosing between Cruyff and Advocaat chosing between a 32 course dinner at El Buli in Rosas, Spain vs Kentucky Fried Chicken in Tallahassee? Didn’t Advocaat go for defensive football, whereas Jopie wants to attack, score goals and teach the world how to play soccer….eh….football?
Dick Advocaat got the job. Ruud Gullit walked. Not so much because of the Cruyff/Advocaat thing, but because Ruud felt Dickie wasn’t preparing correctly for the hot hot summer in the US ( Holland would play in Florida…) and because he felt he wasn’t used well. The big star and leader Gullit wasn’t treated the way he felt he should be and he saw the signs on the wall.
Press conference where Gullit announces to leave the Oranje camp
Holland would land in the US and had to play its games at not the best of times, temperature wise. The hydration was a problem and Holland played horrible group games. The first was against Saudi Arabia in Washington DC.
Advocaat used these players:
Ed de Goey
Ulrich van Gobbel Frank Rijkaard Ronald Koeman Frank de Boer
Jan Wouters Wim Jonk Ronald de Boer
Marc Overmars (58″ Taument) Dennis Bergkamp Bryan Roy (81′ van Vossen)
Saudi Arabia scored the first goal after 18 minutes and the sluggish Oranje had severe trouble finding openings. Wim Jonk scored the equalizer after 50 minutes and sub Gaston Taument found the net with his head 4 minutes before the end of the game after a goalkeeper mistake.
For the second game, we played our big rivals Belgium. And it was quite a strong Belgium too with Preud’Homme (who would coach FC Twente later on), Staelens, Degryse, Scifo and Grun. Oranje lost that game, 1-0 thanks to an Albert goal. Holland got 5 yellows and the fact that Bergkamp and Witschge were on the receiving end says enough. Van Gobbel was replaced by Stan Valckx and goal scorer Taument got a starting position at the expense of Overmars.
So Holland lost one and won one. The last game was against Morocco in Orlando. Holland had to win. And did.
Dennis Bergkamp and Bryan Roy made sure of it, but it was still close: 2-1. This time around, Van Vossen and Overmars started with Roy and Taument being subs. Van Vossen’s dribble on the left allowed Bergkamp to score while the Menace did the same later for Roy. But what a dreadful game again…
But…we progressed and played Ireland in the 16th Round. Ireland had Bonner, Whelan, Keane, Townsend and McGrath. Advocaat played Overmars and Van Vossen again, while Wim Jonk was increasingly becoming the leader on the pitch. Ed de Goey had impressed in the group stages and was key in keeping Holland in the competition against Morocco and Belgium. In the hot American summer, Wouters and Koeman clearly struggled to keep their mojo going. Bergkamp and Jonk both scored in Orlando and the nation hoped the tournament would now really start.
A good first half and a nail biting second half with pressure but not tremendously good football from Ireland.
Oranje started to find some traction and got ready for the quarter finals against Brazil, the surefire fave of this World Cup with former PSV striker Romario, Deportivo striker Bebeto, Dunga and former AC Milan star and coach Leonardo… And a bloke called Branco.
Up to the Cotton Bowl in Dallas:
So, Oranje reached the quarters and plays what would become a classic World Cup match. It would also be Ed de Goey’s last. Whether it has to do with Brazil’s third goal or with his club form, legend Edwin van der Sar would get the nod after this World Cup.
The fans at home were disappointed. Losing against Brazil can always happen, but the quality of Holland’s games was poor. A better result at group stages could have meant we would meet Brazil later. Dick Advocaat played and plays defensive football and never demonstrates the bravado and gung-ho we all like to see from a Dutch coach.
When he returned at Schiphol he was proud that his team was among the best 16 teams in the world, and that was enough for most fans to change channels disgustedly…
This USA World Cup would go into the history books of the only World Cup of which the qualification games were more exciting than the actual World Cup matches (bar the Brazil game).
Qualification on Wembley, 1993: England – Oranje, 2-2
At home in De Kuip: Oranje – England: 2-0
Another factoid: The World Cup 1994 is the start of Bergkamp’s fear of flying…. But that is a story for later…
I wasn’t happy to be exited vs Brazil but at the WC 2014, we might get the same result. If we get through the group, we actually might face Brazil again…