News Matches
Dream team

Ultimate Netherlands dream team - Cruyff & Van Basten in, Bergkamp out

12:30 PM IST 03/12/22
Netherlands Dream Team Cruyff Robben
Some of the greatest players in history have played for Netherlands, but only so many can make our all-time Dutch XI..

One of the most revered national teams in the world, Netherlands have produced some of the greatest footballers of all time.

Superstars such as Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten are evergreen legends of the game, while someone like Arjen Robben achieved huge success at an international level In the modern day.

The Dutch are widely regarded as one of the most unluckiest international teams around in the game, having appeared in three World Cup finals, but without ever lifting the coveted trophy.

They did once enjoy success at a European level, however, as they beat USSR 2-0 in the final of Euro 1988.

Today, it's time to take a look at which players make it into their all-time best XI!

  • Edwin van der Sar Netherlands

    GK: Edwin van der Sar

    A true Ajax legend, Van der Sar made his international debut in June 1995 against Belarus and was in goal for their successive eliminations from major competitions on penalties at Euro 1996, the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

    He then finally turned into his side's hero in a penalty series in 2004 when he kept out Olof Mellberg's spot kick to send Oranje through to the semi-finals.

    The shot stopper retired from international football after Euro 2008, but made a brief return during the qualification for the 2010 World Cup when the Dutch faced a goalkeeping crisis.

    Throughout his Netherlands career, Van der Sar made 130 appearances and was their most capped player until Wesley Sneijder surpassed him in 2017.

    There's no denying that the likes of Hans van Breukelen and Jan van Beveren were fine shot stoppers, too, but there's no seeing past Van der Sar here.

  • Wim Suurbier (on ground)

    RB: Wim Suurbier

    Suurbier featured as the Dutch's first-choice right-back between 1966 and 1978 and was an Ajax legend at club level.

    He made 60 appearances for the national team, scoring three goals in the process.

    The defender was an important part of the Netherlands sides that made the final at the 1974 and 1978 World Cups, which they both ended up losing.

    He was also part of the team that finished third place in the Euro 1976.

    Michael Reiziger and Berry van Aerle were other strong candidates for the right-back spot, but Suurbier's achievements in the 1970s eventually saw him narrowly edge it.

  • Ronald Koeman Netherlands

    CB: Ronald Koeman

    The Dutch have had some superb centre-backs, but it's hard to deny Koeman a spot in this XI as one of the greatest goal scoring defenders of all time.

    Koeman started his club career at Groningen, but moved to Ajax after three years at the club.

    He made his debut for the national team in a 3-0 friendly loss to Sweden in April 1983 and scored his first international goal in September in the same year in a 3-0 win against Iceland.

    Arguably his finest moment came at Euro 1988 in West Germany, where they defeated the hosts in the semi-final with Koeman scoring a penalty.

    In the final, Netherlands defeated the USSR 2-0 to win their only major international trophy.

    Koeman went on to represent his country at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups as well as Euro 1992.

  • Frank Rijkaard Netherlands

    CB: Frank Rijkaard

    Picking Koeman's partner at the back was not an easy choice, with the likes of Arie Haan, Jaap Stam and Frank de Boer all having a case to be made for them.

    But we had to go with Frank Rijkaard in the end, who made most of his appearances for Netherlands at the back.

    The Milan legend made his debut for Oranje in 1981 and was part of the Dutch side that won Euro 1988 playing alongside Ronald Koeman at centre-back.

    Rijkaard made 73 appearances for Netherlands, scoring 10 goals and coming up with some memorable performances.

  • Ruud Krol

    LB: Ruud Krol

    The greatest left-back in Netherlands' history, Krol is also regarded as one of the best defenders of all time.

    He made his debut for the national team against England in 1969 and went on to feature in 83 games before retiring in 1983.

    Krol was an integral part of Netherlands' run to the final at the 1974 World Cup, creating a goal for Johan Cruyff against Brazil and scoring a 25-yard screamer against Argentina.

    Those heroics mean Giovanni van Bronckhorst misses out on a spot in the ultimate Dutch dream team.

  • Johan Neeskens Netherlands

    RCM: Johan Neeskens

    One of the most important members of the Netherlands team that finished as runners-up in the 1974 and 1978 World Cups, Neeskens is widely regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time.

    The former Ajax and Barcelona man made 49 appearances for Netherlands, scoring 17 goals.

    He famously scored the opening goal in the 1974 World Cup final against West Germany with a penalty and was quite probably one of the biggest specialists we've ever seen from 12 yards.

    When Johan Cruyff retired from international football in 1977, it was Neeskens who stepped up and led the Dutch to the World Cup final in 1978, only to lose to Argentina after extra time.

    Clarence Seedorf might consider himself unlucky to miss out on a place in midfield, but prime Neeskens was next level, particularly when representing his country.

  • Willem van Hanegem 1978 Netherlands

    LCM: Willem van Hanegem

    Another member of the Dutch national team that reached the 1974 World Cup final, Van Hanegem played primarily as an LCM for his country.

    He made 52 appearances for the national team and was renowned for his tactical insight and fantastic passing range.

    The way he used to curve the ball from the outside of his left foot gave him the nickname De Kromme (The Crooked).

    Van Hanegem was a complete midfielder who excelled at both the attacking and defensive responsibilities of a central midfielder and keeps Edgar Davids among others out of this team.

  • Arjen Robben Netherlands

    RW: Arjen Robben

    Robben made 96 appearances for the national team and scored 37 goals primarily playing as a right-winger over the course of his 14-year spell with the senior team.

    He also featured in the World Cup final in 2010 where Netherlands lost to Spain, partially because of Iker Casillas' superb save from Robben's effort with the score still level.

    The Bayern Munich icon featured in four World Cups in his career, making 15 appearances, scoring six goals and providing six assists.

  • Ruud Gullit Netherlands URSS Euro 1988

    AM: Ruud Gullit

    Surely the most versatile footballer in history, Gullit featured as a striker, midfielder and even as a defender in his senior career spanning just under two decades.

    He made his debut for Netherlands on his 19th birthday in 1981.

    After missing out on qualifying for the 1982 World Cup and 1984 Euros, Gullit helped his country win Euro 1988 under Rinus Michels, becoming the first Dutch captain to win an international trophy.

    His international spell came to an end in 1994 after a long-running dispute with manager Dick Advocaat with regards to his playing position.

    Shortly before the 1994 World Cup, Gullit walked out of the pre-tournament training camp, never to play an international game again for his country.

    His achievements before that speak for themselves, though, and he sees off competition from the likes of Dennis Bergkamp and Wesley Sneijder for the position of most attacking midfielder / support striker.

  • Johan Cruyff Netherlands West Germany World Cup 1974

    LW: Johan Cruyff

    A three-time Ballon d'Or winner, Cruyff is without a doubt one of the greatest footballers of all time.

    The versatile attacking midfielder was a key component of the "Total Football" philosophy explored by Rinus Michels and went on to achieve immense glory in his career.

    Cruyff led Netherlands to the final of the 1974 World Cup, winning the Golden Ball as the player of the tournament.

    He helped the Dutch team finish third at Euro 1976, before refusing to play the 1978 World Cup after a kidnapping attempt targeting him and his family in their Barcelona home diverted him from football.

    He scored 33 goals in 48 games for the national team and there were truly no limits to what he could have achieved at international level had he featured for his country for the entirety of his playing career.

  • Marco van Basten Netherlands England Euro 1998

    ST: Marco van Basten

    Van Basten leads the line for Netherlands' dream team, beating the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy and Patrick Kluivert to name just a few of the other options.

    Known widely for his ball control, attacking intelligence, incredible heading ability and his ability to score a spectacular volley, Van Basten won the Ballon d'Or three times.

    The striker led Netherlands to win Euro 1988, where he also won the Golden Boot after scoring five goals including a memorable volley in the final against USSR.

    A rather shocking fact about Van Basten is that he never scored in the World Cup finals, but his goal against USSR along was enough to earn him legendary status.