Are they still the ‘Brilliant’ Orange?

By | April 15, 2020

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a fan of Dutch football. Maybe its just the last name and Dutch ties that attracted me, or maybe it is the fact that they’re consistently entertaining. But that’s the problem; they’re consistently entertaining without results. I thought being a fan of couldn’t get worse after the heartbreaking loss in the Final in 2010, but the 2014 loss in the semifinals was even more heartbreaking. I knew Robben would’ve torn Germany up and redeem the ’74 team if he just could’ve made it to the final stage.

And even for as long as I’ve rooted for the Netherlands in the World Cup, I can admit that Brilliant Orange still taught me a lot about the origins of Dutch football. It really revealed to me that I am a new fan of the Dutch, and that I don’t know nearly as much as I thought. And that is a disclaimer for my following comments.

Dutch Total Football. This is heralded as the greatest thing the Dutch ever did for the beautiful game. The system has inspired so many other team playing styles in the current day. And even though it is not widely employed in its original form, it is still instilled in Dutch youth players, shown by how flexible all Dutch players are on the pitch. But even with the system’s original creator and mastermind (Louis Van Gaal) running the show in 2014, the Dutch still couldn’t end their World Cup drought. Is the supposed greatness of Dutch football still living on the reputation of total football?

Let’s be honest; Dutch football is kind of overrated. Once again, I love to watch Dutch football and rooted for them when they could qualify for the World Cup. But, the winning just isn’t there. Before my time in the true total football era in the 70s, the team produced no actual World Cup trophies for Holland. They couldn’t even put it together in the 1990 World Cup after stellar performances by Ruud Gullit (my Dutch GOAT) and Van Basten in the ’88 Euros. But they didn’t really accomplish much but that. They couldn’t even qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Making it to the finals of the World Cup and losing multiple times isn’t really historic, it’s disappointing.

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