Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Netherlands Greatest All-team 23 member team

World Cup 1974
This is my all-time team for Netherlands. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament. 

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index
North HollandSouth Holand.
The rest of Netherlands excluding North and South Holland
Holland All-Time Team After Johan Cruyff
Netherlands before Johan Cruyff (BC)
Netherlands 2002
Dutch-Indos/Indonesia-born Dutch All-Time Team

Netherlands first became prominence when they reached the Final of the 1974 Finals, where they lost to the host.  The team led by Johan Cruyff charmed the world with their "Total Football".   Four years later, they reached the Final again, but they again lost to the host.  Finally, Oranje won their first major international tournament in 1988 ar the European Championship.   Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard also contributed the successes of AC Milan in the late 1980's.  Then, in the mid-1990's, a new Golden Generation helped Ajax to win the Champions' league in 1995.  With the national team, they reached the semifinal of the WC in 1998. 

If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  The team is not an All-Star team. I tried to be as realistic as possible.   A few of the players are selected for tactical reasons at the expense of more famous players.

Euro 1988
GK: Edwin Van Der Sar 
Van Der Sar is the most capped player in Netherlands' history with 130 caps.  He went to 1994, 1998 and 2006 World Cup and Euro 1996, 2000 and 2004.  He was best remembered for being the Ajax keeper in 1995 that won the Champions' League and then, later for Manchester United for 6 seasons.  He won the Champions' League in 2007-2008. In between, he also played with Fulham and Juventus.
GK:  Jan Van Beveren
Jan van Beveren was considered one of the best keepers in the 1970's.  In 1970, Van Beveren joined PSV Eindhoven, where he won three Eredivisie titles, two domestic cups and the UEFA Cup in 1978. He had 32 caps from 1967 to 1977. His career with the national team was cut short because of a feud with Johan Cruyff. He missed the World Cup Finals in 1974 because of that. 

GK:  Just Göbel
Born in Dutch- Göbel who played for Vitesse Arnhem, succeeded Reinier Beeuwkes as the Dutch national goalkeeper in 1911. He was known for being the first Dutch keeper trying to catch the ball rather than stomp it away. He played 18 matches for the Dutch team, being best remembered for his numerous saves during the 2-1 win over England's amateurs and his bronze medal in the football tournament of the 1912 Summer Olympics.

RB: Wim Suurbier 
Suurbier is considered among the best ever rightback in history.  He was the starting rightback for Oranje at the 1974 World Cup in Germany as well as the great Ajax team of the early 1970's where he played 13 seasons. He won three European Cups with Ajax in the 1970's. He also played club football in France, the USA and Hong Kong.

RB: Harry Dénis 
He participated in three consecutive Summer Olympics, starting in 1920.  He actually delivered the Olympic Oath during the opening ceremony of the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam.  Dénis started playing football with local side DVV and joined HBS aged 11. He would stay at the club for the rest of his career, winning the 1925 Netherlands Football League Championship with them.

CB:  Ronald Koeman 
Ronald Koeman was the rock solid sweeper of Holland's Euro1988 team.  He was capped 78 times. He also won two European Cups, one each for PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona FC.  He scored the winning goal for Barcelona's victory in 1992. The Cup was Barcelona FC's first ever European Cup.  In Netherlands, he played for all of the "big three" clubs, namely Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord.
Ronald Koeman 
CB:  Jaap Stam 
Stam was at one point the most expensive Dutch player and the most expensive defender in the world when Manchester United bought him for 10.6 million pounds.  He played for several European clubs including PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Lazio, A.C. Milan and Ajax. In total, he had 67 caps.  He was also an important player in the Dutch team that finished fourth in the 1998 FIFA World Cup and again reached the semifinal of Euro 2000.

CB:  Rinus Israel
Nicknamed "IJzeren Rinus (Iron Rinus)".  He had 47 caps for Holland.  He was a part of the 1974 World Cup team  that finished second at the World Cup Finals in West Germany.  During his career he played for DWS (1962–66), Feyenoord Rotterdam (1966–74), Excelsior Rotterdam (1974–75) and PEC Zwolle (1975–82).  He won an European Cup with Feyenoord. 

CB: Virgil van Dijk 
Van Dijk started with Groningen before he moved to Celtic in 2013. In S2015, he joined Southampton before signing for Liverpool in 2018 for £75 million, a world record transfer fee for a defender. Van Dijk was named the PFA Player of the Year and the Premier League Player of the Season for the 2018–19 season. Van Dijk starred as Liverpool won the 2019 UEFA Champions League Final where he was named man of the match. From 2015 onward, he played for Netherlands and was named captain.

LB/SW:  Ruud Krol 
Krol was one of the most important defender in Netherlands' history.  Capped 83 times. He helped Oranje to reach the World Cup Final in both 1974 and 1978.  He was a leftback at the World Cup in 1974 and switched to sweeper later in his career.  He won three straight European Cups with Ajax in the 1970's. He also played in Italy with Napoli, in France with Cannes and the NASL with Vancouver Whitecaps.
Ruud Krol 
LB/DM:  Giovanni Van Bronckhorst
Giovanni Van Bronckhorst played for his country in three FIFA World Cups, in 1998, 2006 and 2010, as well as three UEFA European Championships, in 2000, 2004 and 2008.  He was the captain of Netherlands at World Cup 2010, where Netherlands finished second.  He played 106 times for Netherlands.  He won the Champions' League for Barcelona in 2005-2006. He also played wirh Feyenoord, Arsenal and Rangers.  

CM: Frank Rijkaard
Frank Rijkaard was one of Netherlands' most important player.  Capped 73 times.  He won the 1988 European Championship in West Germany. He notably played for Ajax and AC Milan. He spent 5 seasons with AC Milan when Milan was considered the greatest club team in the world.  He won two European Cup with them. In 1995, he led a young Ajax team to their famous Champions' League victory.  That team is also considered one of the greatest club sides ever.

CM: Willem Van Hanegem
In Holland, Willem Van Hanegem was widely considered the second best Dutch player in the 1970's and perhaps, the greatest player for Feyenoord. He won the European Cup with Feyenoord in 1970.  He was capped 52 times between 1968 and 1979.  He was an important player at the World Cup Finals in 1974, where Netherlands finished second, but he missed the World Cup Finals in 1978.  He also played in NASL.
Willem Van Hanegem

CM: Johan Neeskens
Johan Neeskens was considered to be one of the greatest Dutch midfielders. He was a crucial component in the Total Football side of the 1970s.  He had 49 caps for Netherlands.  Her led Netherlands to two second place finishes at the World Cup Finals in 1974 and 1978.  He was Netherlands' top scorer at the 1974 World Cup Finals.  He also won three straight European Cups with Ajax: 1971, 1972, 1973. He also played with Barcelona FC and New York Cosmos.
Johan Neeskens
CM: Edgar Davids
Nicknamed "the Pitbull", Edgar Davids was one of the greatest defensive midfielders in the world.  He won the European Champions' League with Ajax in 1995.  He was an important player at the World Cup Finals in 1998 when Netherlands reached the semi-final. He also spent 7 seasons with Juventus at the height of his career. He also played for Tottenham Hotspurs, Barcelona, AC Milan, etc.

RW/LW/FW: Arjen Robben
Arjen Robin was an important player for Bayern Munich's dominance in Europe as they reached three Champions' League Finals in 4 years, winning a single one.  He also played with PSV, Real Madrid and Chelsea. For the national team, he had 97 caps. He helped Netherlands to reach the World Cup Final in 2010 and then the semi-final in 2014. He also went to the 2006 World Cup Finals. He had 96 caps between 2003 and 2017.
Arjen Robben
LW: Coen Moulijn
Coen Moulijn was considered the best left winger in Dutch football and probably the best player from Feyenoord.  He started his career with Xerxes in 1954.  A season later, he joined Feyenoord. He stayed there until 1972. He won the European Cup and the Intercontinental Cup with them in 1970. He had 38 caps at a time when Netherlands was not considered a major power in football.  He scored 4 goals for the Netherlands national football team.

AM: Ruud Gullit
Ruud Gullit was the iconic captain of Netherlands' Euro 1988 winning team.  In 1987,  he moved from PSV Eindhoven to A.C. Milan for a world record transfer fee.  He was an important player for AC Milan during the 1980's where they won two straight European Cups. He was the European Footballer of the Year in 1987 and the World Soccer Player of the Year in 1987 and 1989.  He spent one season with Sampdoria winning the Italian Cup in 1994.  He earned 66 caps.
Gullit with Van Basten
FW:  Faas Wilkes
Faas Wilkes was one of the first Dutch player to play aboard.  In 1949, he joined Inter Milan, where he had the best of his career.  He also had a great career with Valencia.  He was considered to Holland's best player until the emerge of the Golden Generation of the 1970's. He was capped 38 times scoring 35 goals.  He was banned from the national team between 1949 and 1955 because KNVB did not select professional players. He was Netherlands' all-time leading scorer until 1998.

FW: Johan Cruyff
Known for his number "14", Johan Cruyff is the greatest Dutch player ever.  He won the Ballon d'Or three times, in 1971, 1973 and 1974.  He was considered one of the best players in history.  He was noted for his brilliant performance at the World Cup in 1974.  He also won three straight European Cups with Ajax in the 1970's.  He moved to Barcelona in 1973 for a world record transfer fees, where he became a legend.  He also played in the NASL at the end of his career.
Johan Cruyff
FW: Dennis Bergkamp
Bergkamp was the best-known Dutch player of the mid-1990's.  He helped Netherlands to reach the semi-final of the 1998 WC Finals in France.  His goal vs Argentina at was considered among the best ever scored in WC history.  Bergkamp surpassed Faas Wilkes's record to become the country's top goalscorer of all time in 1998. He started with Ajax and played for Inter Milan.  He also had a successful career with Arsenal.

ST:  Marco Van Basten
Marco Van Basten was probably the second best Dutch player and among the best striker in football's history.  He won the Ballon d'Or three times.  He led Oranje to the victory at the European Championship 1988 scoring 5 goals at the tournament. It was Holland's first victory in a major tournament. His goal in the Final is considered one of the best in history of the tournament. He started his career with Ajax.  He also won two European Cups with AC Milan, a club side that was considered the best ever.  
Marco Van Basten
ST: Ruud Van Nistelrooy
Ruud Van Nistelrooy was a prolific goal scorer. He won the top scorer award in three different European domestic leagues. He started with PSV Eindhoven.  He spent 5 seasons with Manchester United where he was voted as their best player twice.  With Real Madrid, he finished second as the European Golden Boot. Van Nistelrooy earned 70 caps and scored 35 goals for the Netherlands. He played in the 2006 World Cup Finals and two European Championship.
Ruud Van Nistelrooy
Honorable Mention
Hans Van Breukelen, Eddy Graafland, Piet Keizer, Berry van Aerle, Danny Blind, Wesley Sneijder, Johnny Rep, Robin Van Persie, Barry Hulshoff, Jan Wouters, Arie Haan, Wim Jensen, Arnold Muhren, Abe Minderts Lenstra, Rob Rensenbrink, Clarence Seedorf, Kees Rijvers, Willy Van De Kerkhof, Marc Overmars, Rafael van der Vaart, Frank De Boer, Puck Van Heel.

Squad Explanation
-- Johan Cruyff, Ruud Krol, Johan Neesken, Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Ronald Koeman are probably automatic selection.  No need to explain.  Dennis Bergkamp is also close enough to be automatic selection.
-- I selected more players from the Dutch national team from 1998 to 2006 than the team from 2010 and 2014. I thought that they were more talented. Edwin De Sar, Jaap Stam, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, Edgar Davids, Dennis Bergkamp and Ruud Van Nistelrooy are on my team.
-- Holland's greatest moment was the Euro 1988. However, I only selected 4 players from that team: Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Ronald Koeman.
-- Netherlands 1974 was known to be the greatest national team that did not win the World Cup.  However, I only took 6 footballers from that team: Johan Cruyff, Ruud Krol, Willem Van Hanegem, Johan Neesken, Wim Suurbier and Rinus Israel.  The seventh player Jan Van Beveren did not attend the World Cup Finals because of a feud with Johan Cruyff. 
-- Kees Rijvers, Piet Keizer and Rob Rensenbrink were the biggest names missing from this team. I decided to select two old-timers(Wilkes and Moulijin) and two younger players (Bergkamp and Robben) over them.   
-- A feud with Johan Cruyff kept goalkeeper Jan Van Beveren off the 1974 team, but I do not consider it as a factor.  He was rated among the greatest ever Dutch goalkeeper.   Just Göbel was a pioneer in Dutch football.  So Hans Van Breukelen was left off the team.  Eddy Graafland also deserved a space.
-- Wesley Sneijder, I felt, had one good season in 2009-2010 where he won the Champions' League with Inter Milan and the Golden Silver Ball at the World Cup Finals.  His club career in other seasons, however, were marked with a lot of inconsistency. However, I gave him credit for leading Holland to 2nd place at the World Cup Finals in 2010. He deserved to be on the team, but unfortunately, Ruud Gullit, Willem Van Hanegem, Johan Cruyff, Dennis Bergkamp and Faas Wilkins can all play as a secondary striker/offensive midfielder role. So I only put him as an honorable mention.
-- Ariel Robben is the one of only two members of the 2010 World Cup Finalist who is selected (Giovanni Van Bronckhorst is the other).  I needed a winger or wide player.  Furthermore, he has proved to be an all-timer while playing for Bayern Munich winning the Champions League. At his prime, he was right behind Cristano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. It is actually a controverial to pick him over Piet Keizer who was rated as highly as Johan Cruyff. Keizer's career might have been overshadowed by Cruyff. 
-- Before I started researching this team, I could not imagine Keizer  not on the team.  He was kept off by Coen Moulijn, Denis Bergkamp and Faas Wilkes. Faas Wilkes was one of the first Dutch player to play aboard. I considered him as a pioneer in the Dutch football.
-- The emerge of Robben also kept Kees Rijvers off the squad. Marc Overmars is behind the two of them.
 -- Willem Van Hanegem was considered to be the second best ever Dutch player after the 1974 World Cup Finals.
-- Johnny Rep was left off since a handful of younger players emerged after the 1970's. Liked Keizer and Rensenbrink, he is the most successful name not on this team. 
-- Ruud Van Nistelrooy won the top scorer award in three different countries.  Besides, Marco Van Basten, Holland does not have another striker better than him. Robin Van Persie is probably right behind him. Patrick Kluivert's peak was too short.  Ironically, he was born on the same date as Van Nistelrooy. Kluivert started his career quickly, but faded quickly while Van Nistelrooy was a late bloomer.
-- Virgil van Dijk is becoming one of the best defenders in the world at this moment.  He came second in the 2019 Ballon d'or, an award that he should have won it.  Not many defender ever came close of winning it. Certainly, Rinus Israel or Frank De Boer never came close. In August, 2019, I took Frank De Boer off the list and replaced him with Van Dijk.
Netherlands 2010 World Cup Finals
Starting lineup
I am using the classic 4-3-3 formation from Netherlands 1974.  However, tactics would be very different.  On paper, Cruyff was moved to the wing, but he would move around the field so it did not matter where he lined up.  Netherlands 1974 did not have a classic striker in Van Basten.  So I am playing with a target man.  In 1974, Wim Jensen played in the midfield.  I replaced him with Ruud Gullit, a more offensive player than Jensen. This formation would probably reduce Neeskens' movement. He would drop back more often.


  1. mi metti Davids e non Seedorf,manca Stam e l'atro fratello Van de kherkof

  2. Keizer over Robben. Robben's inconsistency is why Netherlands lost to Spain in 2010.

    1. Keizer over Moelijn. Keizer needs the be in the team, but he was a left winger. Robben is primarily selected as a right winger. Also, the reason we lost to Spain is definitely not because of Robben's inconsistency, you can't possibly put the blame for that on Robben.

  3. Franky Der Boer was the best Defender behind Ruud Krol. He should definetly bei in the team!

  4. Hi! I found the valuable football video.
    Netherland football league Championship match Highlight Scene 96/97.
    Famous player Jonk and Nilis.

  5. 1.Van der Saar
    9.Cruyff (c)
    11.Van Bastein
    3.F de Boer
    4.Van Dijk
    5.Van der Hart
    8.Van Hanegan
    De Boer could play as a lb. And,as krol could play on both wing,and Neeskens could be deployed as rb, I opt for no futher right back in the bench.

  6. There´s a lot of competition for the attacking midfield/forwards/strikers positions.
    I'd probably go:
    Van Beveren, Van Breukelen, Van Der Sar
    Van Bronckhorst, Dénis, Van Dijk, Israël, Koeman, Krol, Stam, Suurbier
    Davids, Gullit, Van Hanegem, Neeskens, Rijkaard, Seedorf
    Van Basten, Bergkamp, Cruyff, Keizer, Van Nistelrooy, Robben

    Wilkes, Lenstra, Rensenbrink, Sneijder, Moelijn, Haan, Van Persie, F. De Boer, Van Der Kuijlen, Rijvers, Kluivert and Overmars all very unlucky to miss out.
    Especially Wilkes and Lenstra. Lenstra having been an absolute goalscoring machine en Wilkes a pioneer of Dutch football.

    I just think the presence of Cruyff and Bergkamp makes Wilkes' inclusion redundant. So I'd go for an extra midfielder instead.

    Van Nistelrooy just edges out Lenstra for me, as the back-up striker.
    Lenstra is probably the more iconic player (and he is one of only 12 players to have a statue in the Dutch National Team Campus). But because of his loyalty to SC Heerenveen, and the fact that the Dutch team didn't play in any major tournaments during his days, he never got to show his quality at the world stage. Whereas Van Nistelrooy has proven himself as one of the most lethal finishers of the 21st Century, with some of the biggest clubs.

    Van Dijk and Israël just edge out F. De Boer in central defense. Van Dijk may be a controversial inclusion, but in the past 3 years, he's had one of the most impressive peaks I've ever seen with a center back.
    De Boer could also be included instead of Van Bronckhorst, as the back-up left back. But De Boer had his best years as a centre back, so I'd go with a genuine left back in Van Bronckhorst.

    Rensenbrink and Moelijn are just being edged out by Keizer, but are great options if you want an extra left winger in your squad.

    Davids just edges out the extremely underrated Arie Haan in defensive midfield.

    Seedorf just edges out Sneijder for the final midfield spot. Seedorf had the longevity and the better club career, but Sneijder did more with the national team and had a better peak (2008-2011). However, Seedorfs career with Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan was too good to ignore.

    Right back is probably the weakest position for us, historically. Suurbier is the obvious first choice and Dénis could deputise (making him the only pre-war player in the squad). Other options would have been Reiziger or Van Aerle.

  7. Also, I believe Phillip Cocu and Aron Winter, two of the most underrated Dutch players, deserve honorable mentions in your list