Belfast Telegraph

Six facts about the Dutch as they get set to take on Northern Ireland tomorrow night

With the Netherlands facing Northern Ireland in the crunch Euro 2020 clash in Belfast, we take a look at their history

Virgil Van Dijk, right, will captain Holland against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park tomorrow night. (Tim Goode/PA)
Virgil Van Dijk, right, will captain Holland against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park tomorrow night. (Tim Goode/PA)

They won their maiden match

The Netherlands played their first international against Belgium in Antwerp in 1905. The score was 1-1 after 90 minutes with the Dutch winning 4-1 in extra-time. Three years later, they won a bronze medal at the 1908 Olympics.

Total football

In the 1970s, ‘Total Football’ was invented in Holland with Johan Cruyff and national team coach Rinus Michels at the heart of it. The Dutch reached the 1974 and 1978 World Cup finals, but lost both to West Germany and Argentina respectively.

Euro glory

Holland won a major tournament for the first time in 1988 with Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten and current boss Ronald Koeman starring in the European Championship success. Van Basten netted a stunning volley in the 2-0 final win over Russia.

Ronald Koeman
Ronald Koeman

Final misery

Netherlands reached their third World Cup final in 2010 in South Africa. In a bad tempered encounter, in which John Heitinga was red carded for the Dutch, Spain emerged as 1-0 victors in extra-time thanks to a goal from Andres Iniesta.

RvP is the MVP

The highest scorer for Holland in international football is Robin van Persie who netted 50 times for his country. The man with the most caps for the Dutch is Wesley Sneijder with 134 appearances.

Robin Van Persie with former Dutch manager Louis Van Gaal. (Mike Egerton/PA)
Robin Van Persie with former Dutch manager Louis Van Gaal. (Mike Egerton/PA)

Head-to-head

Holland and Northern Ireland have played each other on seven occasions. Northern Ireland have won once, drew twice and lost four, the last of which was a 3-1 defeat in Rotterdam in October when Memphis Depay scored twice for the Dutch

Memphis took just five minutes to draw Holland level after Northern Ireland took the lead in Rotterdam last month. (Peter Dejong/AP/PA)
Memphis took just five minutes to draw Holland level after Northern Ireland took the lead in Rotterdam last month. (Peter Dejong/AP/PA)

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