4/26/2010: Your Brillant Orange Moment Of The Day

8:27 AM Posted by Ryan Kozlowski

I understood a little about Dutch soccer before this whole Dayton Dutch Lions adventure; Mainly that Ajax had some awesome teams back in the day, I could do a mean Cruyff turn (and that's about it I could do mean) in my footballing career, the Dutch like to attack, Edgar Davids is a player I admired (who was part of the reason I chose Tottenham as my new team when I was in England in 2005), and that the Dutch National Team has a keen way of being brillant but losing in the end. I learned a bit more about Dutch soccer history when I purveyed the Sports Section at Borders in the Dayton Mall and picked up Brillant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Soccer by David Winner, which has been tying up some of the loose ends for me.

As whenever I get a free hour of relaxing, I'm usually reading a soccer book. And, in this book when Winner points out a sweet goal, I usually hop on youtube to check it out. Since I likely snatched up the one copy of Winner's book in all of Dayton, I'll put up these posts once in a while on Dutch soccer history with some youtube clips.. I pretty much have the U.S. Soccer history down because I'm a U.S. Soccer nut, and since half the team is Dutch a good window in how they think and operate in soccer, is to learn some of their history. The history will not usually be in order, so bare with me.

1978 World Cup Dutch National Team

Not considered as good or total (at least in Holland) as the 1974 Dutch National Team that forgot to score the second goal in the 1974 final against West Germany and eventually lost that final 2-1. The 1978 World Cup Team still reached the final far away in Argentina, despite having two stars- both Cruyff and van Hanegem- missing from the squad. Both of those factors may have made it a larger achievement but most Dutch don't consider it as good of a team.

The 1978 World Cup Team struggled in the group stages. As after they dispatched Iran in the opening game off of a hat trick from Rob Rensenbrink, an excellent left winger for Belgium's Anderlecht who had 143 goals in 260 games from midfield for Belgium's top club at the time (but was never considered as good just because most of Holland never saw him play regularly; Rensenbrink also played one season for the Portland Timbers in 1980), the Dutch then went on to tie group winners Peru and having to rely on a late Johnny Rep goal to make it past Scotland on goal differential (despite losing that game 3-2).

Johnny's on the spot goal was crucial to get Holland to the second round group:

In the second round the Dutch got going with a 5-1 demolition of Austria (with goals from Brandts, Rensenbrink, two from Rep, and van de Kerkof rounding things out). They followed that up with a 2-2 tie against West Germany (the team they lost to in the 74' final) with van de Kerkof and Haan scoring.

Haan's goal in the game against West Germany was especially sweet:

In the final, second round group game (which was essentially the semi-final with the winner of The Netherlands v. Italy going to the final) the Dutch won 2-1 thanks to goals from Brandts (and not so thanks when Brandts also bizarrely scored for Italy) and another stunning long range effort from Haan.

From Brillant Orange:
Brandts scored, bizarrely for both sides, before Haan settled it with arguably the greatest long-range goal of all time, beating Dino Zoff with a straight drive that was still rising as it went in off the post despite being struck from near the centre-circle. (Nearly twenty years later, when I spoke to Haan by phone on a bad line to Greece, where he was coaching Thessaloniki, I mentioned that I got goosebumps whenever I saw that goal shown on television. He said: 'So do I,' as if some higher power then his right leg was responsible, and I immediately got goosebumps again.)

Haan's goal against Italy that sent the Dutch to the Final:

In the final against Argentina, in Argentina, there was a volatile atmosphere. The Dutch on the way to the stadium were delayed by thousands pounding on their bus, chanting "Argentina! Argentina!" Despite this the Dutch were tied 1-1 through 90 minutes, and Ruud Krol was only inches from scoring the winner near the 88th minute. However, the Dutch said even if Krol would have scored the referee would have awarded Argentina a penalty and if the Dutch somehow won they wouldn't get out of the stadium alive. That is how bad the crowd was.

The Argentinians won the final 3-1 in extra time off of goals from Kempes and Daniel Bertoni (who will actually be playing in the Global United game for Global United):

I'll get to a short history on the 1974 team and other teams in the upcoming weeks.
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