Dutch Decline – The fall of the Dutch national team

SEPTEMBER 5, 2009 - Football : Arien Robben and Robin Van Persie of Netherlands before the international friendly match between Netherlands and Japan at FC Twente Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Enschede, Netherlands. (Photo by Tsutomu Takasu)
For the second time in a row, the Dutch national team have not qualified for a major tournament.

Despite boasting a current crop of well known players like Kevin Strootman, Georginio Wijnaldum and Virgil van Dijk and other talented players it is strange to see they haven’t qualified.

The Dutch national team finished third at the last World Cup and beaten by Argentina in the semi-finals. In less than four years the Dutch national team have gone backwards much different to the women’s team who are on the up and on the back of winning the Women’s Euro’s in their own country last summer.

After Louis van Gaal’s second spell as Netherlands manager ended after the 2014 World Cup, Guus Hiddink stepped in as boss for a second time of the national team and progress was expected to continue. But Hiddink’s reign was disastrous and he was sacked as they were performing poorly in qualifying for Euro 2016.

His incumbent replacement was Danny Blind, one of Holland’s greatest ever centre-backs and was Hiddink’s assistant.

His appointment on paper seemed a strange choice given the fact he hadn’t had a lot of experience and had only managed one team prior taking charge of the national team and that was a spell at Ajax from 2005 to 2006.

Inexperience told and questionable team and tactical selections from Danny Blind who’s reign as national team boss ended in 2017 as he was sacked just like Hiddink, following a humbling 2-0 defeat to Bulgaria. At the time of his sacking they were struggling to qualify for the World Cup again like his predecessor.

Dick Advocaat was appointed a second time and he couldn’t tidy up the mess Danny Blind left and couldn’t get them to Russia missing out on the World Cup finals for the 11th time.

Where do the Dutch go now is the big question? No one can argue the Dutch have a talented squad and are always gonna be recognised as a great and gifted nation in terms of players come and gone and for what they have done internationally.

Qualifying for Euro 2020 will be the target and the Dutch must build for that when that begins in September 2018.

A fairly young squad needs to show their worth and with the likes of Arjen Robben retiring and Wesley Sneijder and Robin Van Persie getting towards the tail end of their careers, they need players to stand up and be counted.

What approach should the Netherlands take? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!