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"The intellectualisation
of football has
always foundered
on a simple problem-
-the players. Doing
all your most
rewarding thinking
with your feet seems
to dull the philo-
sophical impulse.
Unless, of course,
you are Dutch.
According to legend,
Europeans played
a moronic, muscular
version of the world's
game, until Holland
proclaimed its vision
of total football in the
1974 World Cup,
and enlightenment

Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football


A goalkeeper in 1906: Leigh Richmond

Football is considered a different thing in different parts of the world: the most popular of these world-wide is 'association football' or simply football as we call it in Europe.

But the English word "football" is also used for American football, Australian rules football, Canadian football, Gaelic football, rugby football (rugby union and rugby league), and related games.

In The Netherlands it's only football (voetbal).

Modern football as we know it emerged in the middle of the 19th century in England, where the first clubs turned professional as early as 1885.

Brought over by English students football reached Holland abou that time, with the first Dutch club being founded in 1879 by Mr. Pim Mulier: HFC (Haarlem Foorball Club).

It was the same Pim Mulier who founded the 'Nederlandschen Voetbal- en Athletischen Bond' (NVAB), (Dutch Football and Athletics Association), the predecessor of the modern KNVB (Royal Dutch Football Association, 1929).

At first HFC played Rugby Football on a pitch where cows grazed during the week and that actually had a number of trees standing in the middle of the park.

Pim Mulier

When too many parents of the young players started complaining about the injuries of their children, the club changed to association football in 1883.

Soon after all over the Netherlands other clubs were founded and when the NVAB saw the light a total of 10 clubs joined: Rotterdamsche Cricket- en Football-Club "Concordia", Delftsche F.C., Haarlemsche F.C., Haarlemsche F.C. "Excelsior", Haagsche Voetbal-Vereeniging, Rotterdamsche Cricket- en Football-Club "Olympia" , Voetbalvereniging Rotterdam, Amsterdamsche Sportclub, Amsterdamsche F.C. "R.A.P.", Voetbal-Vereniging "Amsterdam".

In 1895 the members no longer wanted to be in a joined union with the athletics department and so they evicted the latter and renamed themselves NVB, the Nederlandse Voetbal Bond.

Fourty years later they were granted the title 'Royal' and so they went on as the KNVB (Konklijke Nederlandse Voetbal Bond).

Ten years after the Dutch Football Association went solo, Dutchman C.A.W. Hirschmann and the Frenchman Robert Guérin founded the F.I.F.A. (Federation Internationale de Football Association). The British do not join the new world wide association yet, as they do not see the need for it. They did one year later in 1906.

April 30, 1905 The very first international match was played in and against Belgium, and won: 1-4. All goals were scored by Eddy de Neve. He scored a total of six goals in the three games he played for Holland.

21 December 1907 - The day of the biggest ever defeat up until this day. It was the first time Holland played in orange jerseys, but after the match they saw only red: 12-2 for England.

1908 Olympic Games in London - The very first international competition. Holland lost 4-0 against tot Great-Britain, but still ended third by beating Sweden 2-0.

1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm - Since the 1908 games in London the Netherlands had only played 16 friendlies of which they lost only four (all against England). The only player left over from the 1908 games was Bok De Korver. But again the bronze medal was the best possible result after victories over Sweden (4-3) and Austria (3-1) and defeat in the semi finals against Denmark (1-4). They won the bronze medal by a victory over Finland (9-0). Jan Vos scored 5!

25 April 1909 - Edu Snethlage is the first player to reach a total of 10 goals scored. Holland beat Belgium 4-1 and Snethlage scored 3.

02 April 1911 - In a friendly against Belgium (3-1) Jan van Breda Kolff was the youngest player ever to play for Holland. After this match there has never been a younger player in the national team. He scored his only goal for Holland in this match. That goal meant that he was also the youngest player to score a goal.

24 March 1913 - Holland beat England for the first time in history. In Den Haag the Netherlands win 2 - 1.

17 May 1914 - The last match before World War I was played in and against Denmark, and lost: 4-3.

9 June 1919 - Holland resume playing international games with a match at home against Sweden: 3-1.

1920 Olympic Games in Antwerpen - These were the last Olympic Games which saw only European teams competing. In the semi finals Holland lost out to Belgium 0 - 3, after they had beaten Luxemburg 3 - 0, and Sweden 5 - 4. The last match was not a battle for the bronze medal, but for silver. Czechoslovakia were disqualified after they refused to play the second half against Belgium. In their opinion the referee was corrupted. So Holland could try and win a silver medal by beating a strong Spanish side. Sadly the Iberians were too strong: 1-3.

1924 Olympic Games in Paris - For the fourth time Holland reached the semi final. This time Uruqauy were to0 strong: 1 - 2 . In the first round Holland beat Romania 6 - 0, in the second round Ireland were overcome 2 - 1. After the loss against Uruqauy in the semi finals, Sweden had to be beaten to win the bronze medal. The match ended in a draw (1 -1) and so a replay was needed to determine a winne. Sweden won the second battle 1 - 3 and took the bronze.

25 October 1925 - Harry Dénis becomes record international. Against Sweden he played his 32nd match. With that he passed Bok de Korver.

The Dutch team at the 1928 Olympics, just before the game against Uruguay

1928 - Olympic Games in Amsterdam with the introduction of the Olympic Flare. Holland couldn't approach the good results they reached during previous games. After defeat agains Uruguay, a win against Belgium and a draw against Chili they did not make it past the first round.

5 June 1928 - Harry Dénis is the first player to reach 50 caps. He played his 50th match against Belgium at the Olympic Games in Amsterdam. The Netherlands won 3-1.

1930 - The Netherlands are candidates to organize the first World Cup. After FIFA give the organization to Ururquay, Holland decide to not to participate in these first Word Championships.

May 18, 1930 - Harry Dénis quits after 56 caps, of which he captained 37. Besides one own goal he never scored once.

To be continued




Robben: "Hard to grasp"
Van Bommel after defeat: "I'm a little speechless"
Van Marwijk: "In no mood to get negative"
Flat Dutch don't know what to do with 20+ chances
Netherlands-Denmark: lineup
Joris Mathijsen recovering well
Cruyff: "Kuyt at right back"
Mathijsen still uncertain - could miss entire tournament
Holland and Denkmark: head-to-head
Van Persie seems worth the confidence
Van Marwijk again opts for Van Persie instead of Huntelaar
Huntelaar: "Upset is not the right the word"
Ron Vlaar: "I know what I am capable of"
Van Marwijk: "We remained disciplined"
Ibi and Rafa show manager he has options
Ibrahim Afellay Oranje's Zidane?
Van Marwijk looking for certainties
Cruijff: "Not enough depth in your game is asking for trouble"
Bouma: "I've gone through the desert"
Van Persie: "Defeat at this point not a problem"
Euro 2012 finals squad
Mathijsen strains muscle
Bulgarians surprise Oranje
Ola Toivonen's goal sees Sweden beat Holland and qualify
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar sinks Moldova
Oranje maintain perfection, beat Finland
Netherlands thrash San Marino in Euro 2012 qualifier
Kuyt kills off brave Hungary for Netherlands
Oranje trash Hungary
Sweden no match for Oranje
Van Marwijk: "We left them without chance"
Dirk Kuyt out for months
"We are prepared for all scenarios"
Minimal but easy win for Holland in Moldavia
Van Marwijk: "We played very well"
Holland want result after tumultuous week
Van der Vaart to replace De Jong
"This case only has losers"
Van Marwijk drops Nigel de Jong
Holland & Moldavia: head-to-head
Holland & Sweden: head-to-head
Wisgerhof replaces Maduro
Bouma back on the radar
Netherlands - Finland 2-1
Van Marwijk: "We were late all over the pitch"
Van Bommel: "There wasn't anymore in it"
Heitinga: "That can not happen"
Van der Vaart unhappy with role on the side
Kuyt and Boulahrouz out with injury
"It all revolves around Jari Litmanen"
Sneijder: "Don't tinker with it"
Alonso: "No hard feelings"
Van Marwijk: "Second half was better"
San Marino-Netherlands 0-5
Oranje: a new mission