Five things to know about the Netherlands ahead of World Cup battle with USMNT
The USMNT clinched a berth in the Round of 16 at the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a thrilling 1-0 victory over Iran on Tuesday, Nov. 29 as Christian Pulisic scored the lone goal. The USA (1-0-2, 5 points) finished second in Group B to England (2-0-1, 7) after playing to a 1-1 draw with Wales and a scoreless tie with the Three Lions.
The Dutch (2-0-1, 7) secured the Group A title, conceding only once in three games. They blanked Senegal in their opener, 2-0, on Nov. 21, played Ecuador to a 1-1 draw on Nov. 25, and closed out the group stage with a 2-0 victory over host Qatar on Nov. 29. The Oranje is unbeaten in 15 consecutive group matches, the third longest streak in FIFA World Cup history
WORLD CUP HISTORY/MAJOR HONORS
The Dutch have reached the final on three occasions (1974, 1978, 2010). Many observers have claimed the Netherlands was the best team not to win a FIFA World Cup, falling twice to host teams, Germany (1974) and Argentina (1978). The squad also lost to Spain in extra time in the 2010 championship match in South Africa and took third place at the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
Participating in its 11th World Cup, the Oranje have reached the knockout stage nine consecutive times since 1974.
The team has fared better at the European Championship, winning the title in 1988 behind such legends as Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Ronald Koeman. The Netherlands reached the semifinals three times (1992, 2000, 2004). At Euro 2020, the Dutch were eliminated in the Round of 16.
PREVIOUS HISTORY VS. USMNT
While the teams have met five times over the years, this will be the first competitive meeting between the USA and the Netherlands. The USA is 1-4-0 in the previous five encounters against The Oranje.
The Netherlands registered a 2-0 win in the first meeting on Feb. 21, 1998 in Miami. The visitors scored two minutes after the kickoff as Ronald de Boer intercepted Roy Wegerle’s backpass and took a shot that deflected off the shin of defender Alexi Lalas and past goalkeeper Kasey Keller. A minute into the second half, they added a second as Clarence Seedorf scored. Goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar made five saves for the shutout.
The Dutch won by the same score at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. on May 19, 2002, in the USA’s final tune-up match for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The USA dominated the match, forcing 11 saves out of future New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Ronald Watterus, but the Dutch took their chances. Roy Makaay scored in the 45th minute and Andy van der Meyde put home an insurance goal in the 76th minute against goalkeeper Brad Friedel. USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter, general manager Brian McBride and U.S. Soccer Sporting Director Earnie Stewart all played in the match.
The next three encounters were held in Amsterdam.
The hosts edged the Americans, 1-0, on Feb. 18, 2004, as Arjen Robben solved Keller in the 56th minute to score the lone goal. Several future members of the National Soccer Hall of Fame played for the USA, including Steve Cherundolo, Carlos Bocanegra, Claudio Reyna, DaMarcus Beasley, Landon Donovan and USMNT general manager Brian McBride.
The Americans scored their first goal against the Dutch on Bocanegra’s 88th-minute tally in a 2-1 defeat on March 3, 2010. Dirk Kuyt converted a 39th-minute penalty kick and Klaas Jan Huntelaar added an insurance goal in the 72nd minute as his shot deflected off USA defender Jonathan Bornstein past goalkeeper Tim Howard.
The U.S. finally prevailed over the Netherlands in a wild 4-3 encounter on June 5, 2015. The Americans rallied from a two-goal deficit to win on Bobby Wood’s 90th-minute effort off a cross by current forward Jordan Morris. Trailing 3-1 with 20 minutes remaining, John Brooks began the comeback in the 71st minute. Danny Williams leveled the match at 3-3 in the 88th minute. Gyasi Zardes also scored for the USMNT. Huntelaar headed home a pair of goals for the hosts and assisted on current Dutch forward Memphis Depay’s tally. DeAndre Yedlin came on as a second-half substitute.
Manager Louis van Gaal named a 26-player squad that is almost split in half between 12 domestic-based players and 14 others who are competing for clubs in other countries.
Ajax is the most represented team with seven players.
It is a PSV winger, however, who has emerged as one of the stars of the tournament. Cody Gakpo, whose 15 goals and 14 assists has propelled his club team to the top of the Dutch Eredivisie table, has scored one goal in each of his three group matches after entering the FIFA World Cup with as many goals in nine international appearances. He was tied for the cup lead in goals with Enner Valencia (Ecuador), Kylian Mbappe (France) and Marcus Rashford (England) through Wednesday’s matches.
Gakpo, 23, has scored the Netherlands’ first goal in each match. That was in the 84th minute of its 2-0 opening victory over Senegal, the sixth minute of its 1-1 draw with Ecuador and in the 26th minute of a 2-0 shutout of Qatar. Midfielders Davy Klaassen (Ajax) also found the net against Senegal as did Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), better known for his playmaking, in the 49th minute vs. the hosts.
Center back and team captain Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) has been the cornerstone of a stingy Dutch defense for the past five years. Defender Daley Blind (Ajax), the most capped player (97) on the squad, started all three group matches.
Goalkeeper Andries Noppert (Heerenveen), who made his international debut in the opening win vs. Senegal, has backstopped all three games, recording two clean sheets.
Forward Memphis Depay (Barcelona), who scored a goal and set up another in that 4-3 loss to the USA in 2015, is the national team’s leading goal scorer with 42 goals in 84 appearances. Klaassen is the only other player in double figures in goals (10).
Backup goalkeeper Remko Pasveer (Ajax) is the oldest player (39), while midfielder Xavi Simons (PSV) is the youngest (19).
NETHERLANDS ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS: Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord; 6/0), Andries Noppert (Heerenveen; 3/0), Remko Pasveer (Ajax; 2/0)
DEFENDERS: Nathan Aké (Manchester City/ENG; 32/3), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool/ENG; 52/6), Denzel Dumfries (Inter Milan/ITA; 40/5), Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen/GER; 0/0), Matthijs de Ligt (Bayern Munich/GER; 39/2), Tyrell Malacia (Manchester United/ENG; 6/0), Jurriën Timber (Ajax; 12/0), Stefan de Vrij (Inter Milan/ITA; 59/3), Daley Blind (Ajax; 97/2)
MIDFIELDERS: Steven Berghuis (Ajax; 42/2), Cody Gakpo (PSV; 12/6), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona/ESP; 48/2), Davy Klaassen (Ajax; 38/10), Teun Koopmeiners (Atalanta/ITA; 13/1), Marten de Roon (Atalanta/ITA; 33/0), Xavi Simons (PSV Eindhoven; 0/0), Kenneth Taylor (Ajax; 13/0)
FORWARDS: Steven Bergwijn (Ajax; 26/7), Memphis Depay (Barcelona/ESP; 84/42), Vincent Janssen (Antwerp/BEL; 22/7), Luuk de Jong (PSV; 38/8), Noa Lang (Club Brugge/BEL; 5/1), Wout Weghorst (Beşiktaş/TUR; 17/3)
The legendary Louis van Gaal is in his third tenure as Dutch manager, having directed the squad from 2000-01 and 2012-14. He guided the Netherlands to a third-place finish at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. After a five-year hiatus from coaching, Van Gaal, 71, came out of retirement and was named manager of the current squad, replacing Frank de Boer on Aug. 4, 2021.
As manager of some of the top clubs in the world, van Gaal has earned countless domestic and international titles. He guided Ajax to the 1994-95 UEFA Champions League crown and Dutch Eredivisie crown three titles, Barcelona to La Liga glory twice and to the Copa del Rey once, Bayern Munich to the German double in 2009-10 (Bundesliga and DFB Pokal) and Manchester United to the 2015-16 FA Cup.
Van Gaal, who has managed 929 matches, owns a combined 565-178-186 record at the club and international levels. In the opening group win, he surpassed Dick Advocaat as the most successful coach for the National Team. Van Gaal is 40-4-18, including an 18-game unbeaten streak (13-0-5) during his current term.
He also forged a 15-year career, playing mostly for Sparta Rotterdam, but also having stints with Ajax, Royal Antwerp, Telstar and AZ Alkmaar.
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
The Netherlands finished atop UEFA Group G with a 7-1-2 mark and 23 points, besting second-place Turkey (6-1-3, 21). After dropping its opening match Turkey, 4-2, the Dutch went undefeated in its final nine qualifiers, outscoring the opposition, 31-6, while securing six clean sheets.
The squad clinched a FIFA World Cup spot behind a 2-0 home triumph on Nov. 16, 2021, thanks to a pair of late goals. Steven Bergwijn gave the hosts the lead in the 84th minute. Memphis Depay, who tallied a team-high 12 qualifying goals (and added six assists), added an insurance score in stoppage time.
A bicycle accident forced manager Louis van Gaal (fractured hip) to watch the match in a wheelchair in a box seat at an empty De Kuip in Rotterdam after the country entered a three-week lockdown period with COVID-19 cases on the rise.