Tuesday, November 14, 2017

What if Netherlands World Cup 2002

Netherlands 2002 vs Germany

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index
Netherlands All-Time 23 member team
North HollandSouth Holand
The rest of Netherlands excluding North and South Holland
Netherlands After Johan Cruyff
Netherkands before Johan Cruyff (BC)
Netherlands Euro 1984
What if Ronaldo and Messi played for Australia in 2006
Brazil 1982 with Careca,etc
Sweden World Cup1950
Austria-Hungary 1954
Argentina World Cup 1958
Scotland World Cup 1970
United Kingdom World Cup 1970
England World Cup 1974
United Kingdom World Cup1982
Yugoslavia World Cup 1994
France World Cup 1994
Germany World Cup 2002
Netherlands World Cup 2002
USA World Cup 2010
Ireland/Northern Ireland Combined Team 1986 World Cup
Yugoslavia World Cup 2018

This is my selection of the Dutch National Team for the World Cup Finals in 2002.

Ajax won the UEFA Champions' League in 1995.  That team was considered one of the greatest club teams ever assembled.  The tournament also marked the beginning of a new Golden Generation for Netherlands.  The Dutch national team found successes at the World Cup Final 1998 and the European Championship in 2000, reaching the semi-final before getting eliminated by penalty shootouts.  They were perceived to be a dark horse for the World Cup Finals in 2002.  Unfortunately, they failed to qualify.  Two years later, Netherlands also managed to reach the semifinal of Euro 2004. So the code of the 2002 team reached three semifinals of a major tournament in a 6 year span.
Netherlands vs USA in 2002

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: Sander Westerveld
Westerveld's first professional match was for FC Twente in 1994. After two seasons there he moved to Vitesse Arnhem. He was sold to Liverpool becoming the most expensive goalkeeper in British football for a reported fee of £4 million during the summer of 1999.  At Liverpool, he found little successes.  Late in his career, he played for various clubs.  He earned 6 caps attending Euro 2000 and 2004.

GK: Ronald Waterreus
Ronald Waterreus started his career in 1992 playing for Roda JC. After joining PSV Eindhoven in 1994, he established as a top keeper in Netherlands.  He later played for  Manchester City, Rangers, AZ Alkmaar and New York Red Bulls. He was capped 7 times between 2001 and 2004.  He went to the European Champion of  2004 as a backup.

RB: Michael Reiziger 
Michael Reiziger was a member of the Golden Generation from Ajax that won Champions League with Ajax in 1995.  After a brief stint with AC Milan, he moved to Barcelona in 1997.  In 2004, Reiziger moved to Middlesbrough on a Bosman transfer. He was capped 70 times for Netherlands, representing the nation in three European Championships and the 1998 World Cup Finals.

RB: Mario Melchiot
Mario Melchiot started his career in the youth system at Ajax.  He later played for Chelsea, Birmingham City, Rennes, Wigan and Umm Salal. His longest spell was with Chelsea from 1999 and 2004. He was capped 22 times from 2000 to 2008.  He appeared in the 2008 European Championship, where he played the last of his international game.

CB:  Jaap Stam 
Japan Stam became the most expensive Dutch player and the most expensive defender in the world when Manchester United bought him for 10.6 million pounds.  He helped them to win the UEFA Champions League in the 1998–99 season. He also played for PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Lazio, AC Milan and Ajax. Sam was capped 67 times for Netherlands, scoring three goals. He was in their squads for three European Championships and the 1998 World Cup Finals.
Jaap Stam 
CB/LB: Frank De Boer 
At one point, Frank De Boer was Netherlands' most capped player. He was a part of Ajax's Champions' League winning team in 1995.  He was an important player in the late 1990's. He captained the Oranje to the semi-finals of both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2000.  He also played with Barcelona for 6 years. His twin brother Ronald also played with him for Oranje.

LB/CB: Wilfred Bouma
Wilfred Bouma won 37 caps for the Dutch national team.   He played in three European Championship: 2004, 2008 and 2012.  From 1994 to 2005, he played for PSV Eindhoven, where he played as a winger at one point.  In 2005, he moved to Aston Villa, where he spent 5 seasons and had a successful career before returning to PSV.  

CB: Kevin Hofland
In 1997, Kevin Hofland made his Eredivisie debut with Fortuna.  He went on to play for PSV Eindhoven, Wolfsburg, Feyenoord and AEK Larnaca FC. He earned 7 caps for Netherlands between 2000 and 2006.  Four of his seven caps for the Oranje came during the ill-fated 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign.

LB: Arthur Numan 
Arthur Numan started with  Haarlem and Twente before making a name with PSV.  he played for them between 1992 and 1998.  Then, he joined Ranger in Scotland.  Numan was capped 45 times. He was a key defender at the World Cup Finals in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000.  He also went to the World Cup in 1994 and the Euro 1996.

LB/DM:  Giovanni Van Bronckhorst 
Giovanni Van Bronckhorst played for Netherlands in three World Cups, in 1998, 2006 and 2010, as well as three European Championships, in 2000, 2004 and 2008.  He was the captain of Holland at World Cup 2010, where Netherlands finished second.  He played 106 times for Netherlands.  He also played with Feyenoord, Barcelona Arsenal and Rangers. 

DM: Mark van Bommel 
In Holland, Mark van Bommel's career was associated PSV, where he had two separated stints.  However, his most famous part of his career was spent with Bayern Munich. He was their first ever non-German captain.  He played 79 times for Netherlands and was a main player as Holland reached the 2010 World Cup Final in South Africa. 

CM: Edgar Davids
Nicknamed "the Pitbull", Edgar Davids was one of the greatest defensive midfielders in the world.  At the club level, he won the European Champions' League with Ajax in 1995, a team considered to be the best ever club side.  He also spent 7 seasons with Juventus in Italy at the height of his career.  He played 74 times for the Dutch national team between 1994 and 2005.  He was an important player at the World Cup Finals in 1998 when Netherlands reached the semi-final. 
Edgar Davids
CM: Phillip Cocu 
Cocu played for AZ and Vitesse Arnhem before joining PSV Eindhoven. He played for FC Barcelona between 1998 and 2004. During Cocu’s second stint at PSV, he won another three Eredivisie titles and reached the Champions League semi-finals. With 101 caps, Cocu is fifth on the list of most Dutch international appearances.  He also played at the 1998 and 2006 World Cup, as well as the 1996, 2000 and 2004 European Championships. 

CM/LM: Clarence Seedorf
Clarence Seedorf is the first player to win three Champion League titles with 3 different clubs. He was a member of the Golden Generation from Ajax Amsterdam that won the UEFA Champions League in 1995.  In 1996, he moved to Real Madrid, where he quickly established himself as a star.  He would win two Champions League title there.  He later played for both AC Milan and Inter Milan, winning another Champions' league with AC Milan.  He earned 87 caps.  He was a key player for the Dutch national team from 1994 to 2008.
Clarence Seedorf
LW/RW: Marc Overmars 
Known for his speed, Marc Overmars was a member of the youthful Ajax team that won the European cup in 1995. He moved to Arsenal in 1997, where he starred playing under Arsene Wenger.  He won the Double in 1997-1998.  He later moved to Barcelona and Go Ahead Eagles. His career with Oranja lasted from 1993 to 2004, and was an important player.  He won the Best Young Player Award at USA 1994. 

RW: Andy van der Meyde
After making a name for himself at Ajax from 1997 to 2003, Andy van der Meyde went on to represent Inter Milan and Everton, his spell at the latter club being cut short due to several problems, both on and off the pitch.  He also had an unsuccessful spells with PSV. He earned 7 caps for Netherlands.  He was a key player at the European Championship in 2004, but seldom received a call up after that tournament after the emerge of a new generation of Dutch attackers.
Andy van der Meyde
LW: Boudewijn Zenden
Named the 1997 Dutch Football Talent of the Year, Zenden played for four teams in the English Premier League, totalling 180 games and 19 goals. He also played in the highest leagues in the Netherlands, Spain and France, for PSV, Barcelona and Marseille respectively. Internationally, Zenden earned 54 caps and scored seven goals for the Netherlands, whom he represented at two UEFA European Championships and the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

FW: Ronald de Boer
On the professional club level, De Boer played for Ajax ,Twente , Barcelona, Rangers, Al-Rayyan and Al-Shamal. De Boer won 67 caps and scored 13 goals for the Netherlands national team. He played for Holland in the 1994 and the 1998 World Cups, where he played in six matches and scored two goals. He missed a penalty in the penalty shootout against Brazil in the 1998 semi-finals. De Boer also played in Euro 1996 and Euro 2000.

ST: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was late bloomer where he played with smaller clubs until he moved to Portugal in 1995.  His best stint was probably in England with Leeds United and Chelsea.  He was the Premier League Golden Boot winner in both 1998-1999. 2000-2001.  He only played 23 times because of Netherlands were loaded with forwards during the peak of his career.

ST: Patrick Kluivert 
The teenage star of the great Ajax team of 1995.  He was also a star with Barcelona.  He joined Milan in 1997, but he quickly left for Barcelona a season later.  He had a relatively successes at the club, but left for Newcastle United in 2004.  His career was never the same due to injuries.  He was an important part of the national team from 1996 to 2004.  However, his career was shortened due to various issues.
Patrick Kluivert 
ST: Roy Makaay 
Makaay played for Vitesse and CD Tenerife before becoming a big star with Deportivo La Coruna.  He helped them to win their first ever La Liga title in 1999-2000.  In 2002-2003, he scored 29 goals and became the European Golden Boot winner.  In 2003, he moved to Bayern Muinch.  He won two Bundesliga title.  For the national team, he was only capped 43 times, largely because he was playing at the same time as Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Kuivert and Ruud Van Nistelrooy.

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 2006 World Cup Finals and two European Championship.
Ruud Van Nistelrooy
Players' Pool
Rafael van der Vaart, Paul Bosvelt, Patrick Paauwe, Denny Landzaat, George Boateng, Victor Sikora, Pierre van Hooijdonk, , Fernando Ricksen, André Ooijer.

Squad Explanation
-- I used the number of appearance for the Dutch national team during the 2001-2002 season as a reference, but I did make judgement calls. Edwin Van der Sar, Jaap Stam, Patrict Kluivert and Phillip Cocu all made 6 appearance for Holland while Marc Overmars, Michael Reiziger, Boudewijn Zenden and Ruud Van Nistelrooy made 5.
-- I did not look deep enough to study the injury situation in the summer of 2002. Some payers might not be available.
-- In 2002, Fernando Ricksen played frequently for Holland, but he held a single cap before the end of the World Cup Qualifiers. Mario Melchiot played more during the World Cup Qualifiers. Melchior might have gone to the WC Finals if Holland qualified.  
-- Kevin Hofland was a key player during the World Cup Qualifiers.  I feel that he would have gone ahead of André Ooijer. He played in 4 of the World Cup Qualifiers.  I did not look into the injury situation.
-- Bosvelt was very good in 2002, but I went for players with bigger names internationally.  This probably would be the biggest mistake on my team.
-- Denny Landzaat played in two of the World Cup Qualifiers.  He wold have a bigger role for the European Championship qualifers.  For 2002, I decided not to bring him.
-- Rafael van der Vaart made his debut for Netherlands in 2001.  So he was in the player pool, but he was injured before the World Cup Finals.  
--- Both Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben made their debut in 2003. I will bypass them for 2002.
-- Andy van der Meyde made his international debut in the summer of 2002.  He was a star back with his club in 2001-2002 season.  In the summer of 2002, we would not know what would happen to his career. He would have been a key player in the 2002 WC Finals.  
-- Pierre van Hooijdonk might have picked up more caps than Hasselbaink and Makaay, but I often preferred them over him.  I always feel van Hooijdonk's career was limited by not playing for a bigger club.  His exposure to fans outside that region was limited.
-- Dennis Bergkamp retired from the national team in 2000 after the European Championship.  He was an active player in 2002, but I doubt that he will return to the national team.

Numan was the preferred choice over Van Bronckhorst in 2002, but I decided to play Edgar Davids who was a bigger name than van Bommel in 2002.  Cocu played frequently throughout that period so he got the start. Seedorf also did not play much for the national team during that period. So I started Zenden.


  1. Replies
    1. Dennis Bergkamp retired from the national team in 2000 after the European Championship. He was an active player in 2002, but I doubt that he will return to the national team.

  2. Great team, but as you said: the team built on big names.

    I would pick the same team except choosing Bosvelt instead Ronald de Boer.