Holland’s all-time greatest XI

The Netherlands has produced some of the best world footballers. Master technicians and students of the game, the Dutch national teams have finished runner-ups at the World Cup 3 times and have secured one European Championship in 1988.

Ronald Koeman

The midfielder and set-piece specialist Ronald Koeman who starred for Barcelona scoring 88 goals in 264 club appearances and won numerous La Liga titles and European Cups, carried over his winning mentality to the national side. He made 78 appearances through 12 years, helping The Netherlands win its first trophy with the 1988 Euro championship.

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Johan Cruyff

The three-time Ballon d’Or winner Johan Cruyff never lost an international match in which he scored. His goal tally of 33 goals over 48 games, saw him lead the team in their ‘total football’ campaign to the final in 1974 to play West Germany where the Dutch lost. Cruyff’s tenure came to an end just before the 1978 World Cup, where after getting the team to qualify, he refused to play the World Cup in Argentina due to political reasons.

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Marco van Basten

The Dutch striker Marco van Basten played nearly a decade in Orange, clocking in 58 games and 24 goals. He played a central role in The Netherland’s drive to winning the 1988 Euro final, recording a hat trick against England to total five goals. He was subsequently named the most valuable player of the tournament. He also played in World Cup 1990 and Euro 1992 where the Dutch squad came up short.

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Frank Rijkaard

The defensive-midfielder Frank Rijkaard made his debut for the Dutch national side at the age of 19 after an impressive for Ajax in the Eredivisie. He played an indispensable role in the team that won the 1988 Euros, providing the backbone to the Dutch defense. He finished his career with 73 caps and 10 goals.

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Frank de Boer

The Dutch defenseman Frank de Boer made 112 appearances or the national side, becoming the first Dutch player to earn 100 caps. He played in 2 World Cups and 3 European competitions over his 14 career with The Netherlands. While he went trophyless in international play, de Boer won the Eredivisie five times, along with two league cups at Ajax, and another league title while at Barcelona.

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Edwin van der Sar

The commanding goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar was once the most capped player The Netherlands with 130 appearances. The former Dutch footballer of the year helped take the national side all the way to two Euro semifinals, in 2000 and 2004 and one World Cup semi-final where they lost to Brazil in penalty kicks.

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Wesley Sneijder

The most capped Dutchman, Wesley Sneijder has played 134 games with The Netherlands. After a quarter-final exit in the Euro 2008 tournament which named him one of the best, he helped lead the time to the World Cup finals in 2010 where Holland lost to Spain 1-0.

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Arjen Robben

Playmaker Arjen Robben played over 14 years with the Dutch side, earning nearly 100 caps and scoring 37 goals. Upon leading the team to the World Cup final in 2010, the speedy right-winger appeared on the shortlist for the 2010 Golden Ball. FIFA nominated him again in the 2014 World Cup where Argentina kicked out Holland on penalties in the semifinals. Robben became captain of the team in 2016 before retiring in 2018 given Holland’s failure to qualify for the World Cup.

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Dennis Bergkamp

An Arsenal legend, Dennis Bergkamp took his creative talents to the national side where he scored one of the most memorable goals in World Cup history. Receiving a 60-yard pass from Frank De Boer, he took one touch to get around Argentina before poking it in the left-hand corner of the goal. The technician earned 79 caps with the Dutch team and scored 37 goals.

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Robin Van Persie

With 102 caps and 50 goals, the Dutch forward Robin Van Persie enjoyed a couple of spells of success at the international level. He helped lead The Netherlands to the 2010 World Cup final where the team lost against Spain. In 2014, then captain Van Persie scored one of the best goals of the 2014 tournament with a one-time flying header off a 40-yard lob.

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Ruud Gullit

A 1987 Ballon d’Or winner in his inaugural year with AC Milan, Ruud Guilt captained the Dutch side a year later to win the 1988 Euros. Technically gifted, physical, and creative, he exemplified the philosophy of Total Football in his ability to play and do everything on the pitch. He earned 66 caps and scored 17 goals in his 13 years with the national side where he also played in the 1990 World Cup and the Euros in 1992.

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