Netherlands’ Oranje

The Netherlands will be making their 10th appearance at a FIFA World Cup™.  Nicknamed the Oranje, the Dutch first appeared at the 1934 edition in Italy.  In 2014, the Netherlands find themselves in Group B alongside Australia, Chile and Spain.

In qualifying, the Dutch won nine matches with one draw, and topped their group to earn automatic qualification.  The Flying Dutchmen are led by Louis Van Gaal, who has announced he will be leaving at the end of the World Cup.  Van Gaal is in charge for the second time after failing to qualify for the 2002 showpiece in Japan and South Korea.  The Oranje have made nine previous appearances at the FIFA World Cup™.  The outfit were runners-up on three occasions, most recently in South Africa last time out in 2010.  Then led by Bert Van Marwijk, the team lost the final to Spain in extra time.  In 2010 the Dutch were in Group E alongside Cameroon, Denmark and Japan.

The Netherlands went on to defeat 2014 hosts Brazil in the quarter-finals before seeing off Uruguay in the semi-finals.  Three final defeats without a win makes the Oranje the best side not to have won the tournament.  The tournament’s other finalists never to have won the competition are Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Sweden.  Van Gaal will look to the likes of Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie and Wesley Sneijder in order to reach the knockout stages this time around.  The trio played their part four years ago and will be called upon again in 2014.  Manchester United striker, Van Persie broke a record for the most goals by a Dutch international when he reached 41 strikes in his 79th appearance, which included 11 strikes in the 2014 qualifying campaign.

Robben is a dynamic player who can switch sides without hassle.  His experience is expected to play a vital role in directing the side when they attack.  The Bayern Munich winger has been doing well in the Bundesliga and his special touches on the ball could carry Van Gaal’s men to great heights.  The Oranje are in in Group B, alongside defending champions Spain, Chile and Australia.  The runner-up in this group is likely to meet host nation Brazil in the Second Round, something the Dutch and their pool counterparts will be keen to avoid.