Arguably, the greatest team never to have won the World Cup will be hoping to go all the way at Qatar 2022 as Louis van Gaal looks to make history with the Netherlands.
The Netherlands made their first World Cup appearance back in 1934, finishing 9th, but from 1950-1970, the Dutch failed to qualify for six consecutive World Cups until making their much-anticipated return in Germany at the 1974 World Cup. The 1970s proved to be a high point in Dutch football, bringing about the age of ‘total football' a style still played by the likes of Barcelona and Man City today. The Dutch made it all the way to the final in 1974 but narrowly lost against the home nation Germany and were one of the favourites to claim the title in Argentina 4-years later but once again, they lost to the hosts in the final.
The Netherlands disappeared for a short period, failing to qualify for the 1982 and 1986 tournaments and during the 90s the best they managed was a 4th-place finish in 1998. Disappointment followed as the Dutch missed out of the 2002 World Cup but they did manage to make it to the final of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Sadly, it wasn't to be third time lucky for the Dutch as Spain lifted the trophy. The 2014 tournament in Brazil saw the Netherlands finish in bronze position and as they have done so often in the past, the Dutch failed to qualify for the following World Cup in Russia.
What can we expect from the Netherlands in Qatar then? Well, the Dutch have been drawn in a kind group and should qualify for the knockout stage with ease. If history is anything to go by, the Netherlands stand a good chance of making to the semi-finals and maybe this year could see them end their trophy drought.
The Netherlands have been drawn in Group A alongside the hosts Qatar, African Cup of Nations champions Senegal and South America side Ecuador. While the latter two could prove tough nuts to crack, the Dutch are very good going forward and easily have the best squad in the group on paper, so don't be surprised to see plenty of goals and a comfortable qualification for van Gaal's men.
We're going to take a look at the Dutch team for the World Cup in Qatar and discuss the latest betting markets and odds for one of the pre-tournament favourites.
- 1 The Netherlands' World Cup Squad
- 2 Netherlands World Cup History
- 3 How did the Netherlands Perform in Qatar?
- 4 FAQs on the Netherlands World Cup Squad
The Netherlands' World Cup Squad
The No.1 spot between the sticks could be up for grabs in Qatar. Justin Bijlow had been van Gaal's preferred choice but injuries and poor form mean that Heerenveen's shot-stopper, Andries Noppert could get the nod, but, clearly, we will have to wait and see who gets picked for the first game.
- Justin Bijlow, Feyenoord
- Andries Noppert, Heerenveen
- Remko Pasveer, Ajax
The goalkeeper position seems to be the weakest area of the current Netherlands side and it will be interesting to see who plays in the first game and how they perform.
The Netherlands are spoilt for choice in the centre-back position, perhaps one of the reasons that we could see van Gaal play a 5-3-2 system in Qatar. Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt and Stefan de Vrij are the obvious choices to start in the centre, while Denzel Dumfries has made the right-wing back position his own, and we could see Man City's Nathan Ake on the left even though he is more of a centre-back. There are other options for van Gaal to consider though, as obvious from the list of defenders that made the cut:
- Nathan Ake, Manchester City
- Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool
- Denzel Dumfries, Inter Milan
- Matthijs de Ligt, Bayern Munich
- Jeremie Frimpong, Bayer Leverkusen
- Jurrien Timber, Ajax
- Daley Blind, Ajax
- Stefan de Vrij, Inter Milan
- Tyrell Malacia, Manchester United
Playing Ake at left wing-back will give the Dutch more defensive shape but if van Gaal wants to go more attacking then he could choose Tyrell Malacia who currently plays for one of his old clubs, Manchester United.
The Dutch midfield is more solid than it is skillful these days with Frenkie de Jong the main man at the centre. With de Jong securing his place in the starting eleven who will join him from the rest of the midfielders to travel to Qatar?
- Frenkie de Jong, Barcelona
- Steven Berghuis, Ajax
- Kenneth Taylor, Ajax
- Teun Koopmeiners, Atalanta
- Marten de Roon, Atalanta
- Davy Klaassen, Ajax
- Xavi Simons, PSV
The Atalanta duo of Koopmeiners and de Roon will help to make the midfield solid and mobile. It is perhaps a bit surprising not to see Gravenberch from Bayern Munich included in the last as one for the future, but Van Gaal clearly feels it's too early for him to be at the biggest stage.
Memphis Depay is likely to lead the attack in Qatar, despite not being the first choice at his club Barcelona. Bergwijn and Gakpo could be the two plays alongside Depay but who else made it on the list for World Cup?
- Steven Bergwijn, Ajax
- Memphis Depay, Barcelona
- Cody Gakpo, PSV
- Luuk de Jong, PSV
- Vincent Janssen, Antwerp
- Wout Weghorst, Besiktas
- Noa Lang, Club Brugge
There is a good selection of pace, technical ability, strength and height for van Gaal to choose from and we would expect to see Weghorst get a chance to show his qualities in Qatar as he has featured regularly despite not providing much in the way of goals.
Netherlands World Cup History
So, Netherlands is one of the most successful nations in World Cup history, at least when it comes to reaching the tournament and consistency at it. However, Netherlands never won World Cup, even though they reached the final game three times. So, let's take a look at some of their most prominent players from history:
Most Capped Players
Georginio Wijnaldum will be the biggest miss for the Netherlands at Qatar 2022. The Roma midfielder offers experience, all-round ability and goals in the midfield and sadly for him, this could be his last chance of playing at a World Cup finals.
The former Liverpool and Newcastle man has 86-caps and 26-goals for his country putting him just outside the top 10 most capped players for the Netherlands but just who has the most international appearance for the Dutch?
- Wesley Sneijder, 134-caps (2003–2018)
- Edwin van der Sar, 130 caps (1995–2008)
- Frank de Boer, 112-caps (1990–2004)
- Rafael van der Vaart, 109-caps (2001–2013)
- Giovanni van Bronckhorst, 106-caps (1996–2010)
- Dirk Kuyt, 104-caps (2004–2014)
- Robin van Persie, 102-caps (2005–2017)
- Phillip Cocu, 101-caps (1996–2006)
- Arjen Robben, 96-caps (2003–2017)
- Daley Blind, 94-caps (2013-)
Most International Goals
Memphis Depay continues to close in on the record number of goals for the Netherlands which is currently held by Robin van Persie. The former Arsenal and Man Utd striker scored 50-goals in 102-caps for the Dutch and Depay has 42-goals to his name. Who else is on the list of all-time top scorers for the Netherlands?
- Robin van Persie, 50-goals (2005–2017)
- Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, 42-goals (2006–2015)
- Memphis Depay, 81-goals (2013–)
- Patrick Kluivert, 40-goals (1994–2004)
- Dennis Bergkamp, 37-goals (1990–2000)
- Arjen Robben, 37-goals (2003–2017)
- Faas Wilkes, 35-goals (1946–1961)
- Ruud van Nistelrooy, 35-goals (1998–2011)
- Abe Lenstra, 33-goals (1940–1959)
- Johan Cruyff, 33-goals (1966-1977)
Memphis Depay is still only 28-years-old so it is hard to imagine him not toppling van Persie's total in 2023, providing he remains in the Dutch squad. His future at Barcelona might be in doubt but Depay will go on to play for another top-level club and it doesn't seem like there are too many up-and-coming strikers that will be ready to challenge him for his role in the Dutch national team before he scored more than 50-goals for his country.
How did the Netherlands Perform in Qatar?
After beating Senegal in the first round, the Netherlands only managed to draw with Ecuador in the second round. They took the lead, but Valencia managed to equalise by scoring his third goal of the tournament. As expected, the Dutch eased passed Qatar in the final group game with a 2-0 victory that ensured they finished top of the group with seven points from a possible nine to secure their spot in a duel against the USA.
Group A Final Standings
|Team||Matches Played||Points||Goals For||Goals Against|
The Netherlands' Last 16 Fixture
Netherlands 3-1 USA
The bookies saw the Netherlands as the favourite against the USA, but not by a landslide. In fact, many expected a close duel, but that wasn't what the Dutch had in mind. The Netherlands took a 2-0 lead before the half time and while the USA managed to get one goal back, their hopes of getting to the overtime were shattered just five minutes after they score thanks to Dumfries who added a goal to two assists to round his amazing performance.
The Netherlands' Quarter-Final Fixture
Netherlands 2-2 Argentina (Argentina win 4-3 on penalties)
The Netherlands really struggled to cope with Argentina from the very first whistle and offered very little going forward in the first-half. Molina scored in the 35th-minute to put Argentina 1-0 at the break and in the 73rd-minute, Messi converted a penalty to make it 2-0. The Dutch had to change their game plan and decided to throw on their big strikers and leave van Dijk up front and go long ball, which worked perfectly. Weghorst, one of the subs brought on, headed home in the 83rd-minute to give the Netherlands hope and then finished off a neat free-kick move in the final minute of stoppage-time to send the game into extra-time. The Dutch looked the more likely to score in the added 30-minutes of play but in the end the game went to penalties. Unfortunately for the Netherlands both van Dijk and Berghuis missed their opening two penalties and Argentina converted four of their five spot-kicks to win the match. Yet more World Cup heartache for the Dutch who will have to wait another 4-years before attempting to win their first World Cup.
FAQs on the Netherlands World Cup Squad
Are there any players that particularly stand out from your picks?
Denzel Dumfries is always a pleasure to watch bombing down the right-wing, causing havoc in the opposition's defences, while Depay never seems to let his country down.
How many players were named in the Netherland's World Cup squad?
26 players were selected in the Netherlands squad for the World Cup.
What are the Netherlands’ chances of winning the World Cup with this squad?
The Dutch are more than capable of winning in Qatar but they do have a history of bottling it in the latter stages.