The Dutch national team has come agonizingly close on numerous occasions to lifting the famous trophy, but they have never been able to do it in their history. The closest they came was in South Africa in 2010, when they fell to Spain in the final of the tournament. In that game, they led by a single goal with one minute left on the clock and only needed to keep possession and avoid conceding a goal. However, a slip by central defender John Heitinga and a brilliant finish by Andrés Iniesta meant the match finished 1-0. Even then, had Wesley Sneijder converted his penalty kick during the shootout, who knows what would have happened? The Netherlands are known for producing dynamic players with excellent technique, great vision, and an eye for killer passes.
Who are the key players?
Several key players will be important for the Netherlands at the World Cup, but most of them play for the top European teams and their ability to stay healthy through the tournament will be a huge question mark. One of the key players for the Netherlands is midfield maestro Frenkie de Jong, who is still only 22 years old and has a ton of upside. The Barcelona midfielder is extremely creative and intelligent with his passing, and he also can score goals with his right foot or his head. Another key player for the Oranje is Wout Weghorst, who plays in the Eredivisie for AZ Alkmaar. He’s a strong finisher with very good movement in the box and a knack for scoring goals in big matches. If PSV Eindhoven’s forward Hirving Lozano can avoid injury, he may be the key player at the World Cup for the Netherlands. He’s incredibly speedy and also has a knack for scoring important goals.
Hermann Hummels has been the head coach of the Dutch national team since September 2018. He replaced Ronald Koeman, who was sacked after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Hummels previously managed Bayern Munich II, but his only other managerial experience comes from managing the U-19 team of the German national team. He has a great playing pedigree, being the son of legendary Bayern and Borussia Dortmund center-back Matthias Hummels. The assistant coach is Ruud Hermans, who has been on the coaching staff of the national team since 2007. Herman's and Hermans' plan is to also use Frenkie de Jong as an offensive coach for the national team at the 2022 World Cup.
- The Netherlands have played at 16 World Cups in their history, which is second only to Brazil.
- The Dutch have played in six finals and lost every single one of them.
- They have also won three silver medals in the tournament.
- They have finished fourth twice, fifth once, and sixth once.
- The Netherlands has scored 103 goals in the World Cup, which is second only to Brazil.
- They have conceded 71 goals in the World Cup, which is worse than every other nation in the tournament’s history.
- Arjen Robben scored nine goals in the World Cup, the most of anyone who has played for the Netherlands.
- Robben also has the record for most goals scored in the knockout stages of the World Cup, with eight.
The Netherlands likes to use a 4-3-3 formation, which means there are three defenders, three midfielders, and three forwards playing on the pitch. The three defenders are the center-back, left-back, and right-back. The three midfielders are the two central midfielders and the one defensive midfielder. The three forwards are the two wingers and the striker. The central midfielders will often mark the opposing team’s central midfielders, but the defensive midfielder will act as a third center-back if one of the regular three center-backs gets injured.
The Netherlands like to play possession-oriented, creative soccer. They will play long balls to start their attacks, but they are more likely to employ quick passes that lead to an opportunity to score. They have creative midfielders and wingers who can put their foot on the ball and create chances with a killer pass or a dribble. They also have a strong striker who can score goals. Their main weakness is their inability to keep possession of the ball. The Dutch like to play a high-pressing game, which is a tactical approach to winning the ball back quickly when possession is lost. Their goal is to win the ball back near the opposing team’s goal and then quickly shift the ball to their forwards who will attempt to score on the break.
The Netherlands has been close to winning the World Cup multiple times, but they have never been able to put together a great run of play throughout the entire tournament. They have a strong team this time around and are likely to finish in the top half of the field, but they also have a possibility of being one of the best teams in the tournament. This year’s Dutch team is full of talent and has a chance to finally reach the ultimate goal in the sport.