A new coach ( Guus Hiddink in his pre-Golden Gus period) and a selection of sensational players (some of whom had just played two CL finals in a row)…
Holland had to play a play-off game against Jack Charlton’s Ireland and two Kluivert goals sealed our fate. We would go and take football away from it’s so-called home. Or so we thought…
Our first game was against Scotland.
Hiddink relied on the Ajax wonderboys ( Kluivert, Davids, Seedorf) and had to play without Danny Blind, who was suspended.
Holland needed a win against Switzerland in the second game, after the draw against the Bravehearts. Before that game, the infamous debate about Davids & Seedorf yes or no was raging. We didn’t know what it was about? Were Blind, De Boer and Witschge trying to muscle the Ajax youngsters out of the team? Was it actually a race thing??
We got the win against the Swiss. Now we had to deal with England. Playing at home. With quite a good squad. MacManaman. Shearer. Sheringham. Gascoigne. And Holland was in shambles after the Davids-Hiddink situation. Oranje did not have a good day, and it was a late Kluivert goal that got us our ticket to the knock out stages, on goal difference.
And in the knock out stages we would meet France. A strong team. Would we able to overcome ourselves? A bit of bad luck ( Cocu injury, ball on post, Seedorf missing a sitter) and those friggin’ penalty kicks…
We went back to lick our wounds and prepare the lion for the next EC at our own home grounds… Euro 2000….
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