Netherlands which has participated in eight World cup tournaments won Euro '88 and reached two consecutive World Cup finals in 1974 and 1978, but lost both finals to their respective host nations, West Germany and Argentina.
The Netherlands made their first appearance at the World Cup final tournament in 1934, and after coming back in 1938, the Dutch national team entered the wilderness of world football. Not until a shift to a national league and full professionalism in the 1950s did the fortunes of the Netherlands improve at both club and international level. In the 1958 World Cup qualifiers, they finished two points behind Austra. The team saw continuous improvement throughout the 1960s. At the peak of its success in the 1970s, the team was famous for its mastery of Total Football and was nicknamed Clockwork Oranje for its precision passing. In many countries and even the Netherlands itself, the team is colloquially referred to as Holland.
The Netherlands made their first appearance at the World Cup final tournament in 1934, and after coming back in 1938, the Dutch national team entered the wilderness of world football. Not until a shift to a national league and full professionalism in the 1950s did the fortunes of the Netherlands improve at both club and international level. In the 1958 World Cup qualifiers, they finished two points behind Austria, having lost 3–2 in Vienna after leading 2–0. The team saw continuous improvement throughout the 1960s. Despite high expectations as the team entered the 1990 World Cup, that tournament was not a success. Van Basten failed to score, as he was frequently marked by opposing defenders, while Gullit was ineffective having not fully recovered from injury. The Dutch managed to advance despite drawing all three group games, meeting their arch-rivals West Germany in the round of 16. The match is most remembered for the spitting-incident involving Frank Rijkaard and Rudi Völler as the Netherlands lost 2–1. In the 1994 World Cup, Dennis Bergkamp led the team with three goals and the Netherlands advanced to the quarterfinals, where they lost 3–2 to eventual champions Brazil.
In 1998 World cup, Netherlands advanced right up to semi finals but were knocked out by Brazil in the penalties. The Netherlands qualified for the 2006 World Cup in Germany and finished second in Group C. The Dutch were eliminated in the second round after losing 1–0 to Portugal, in a match that produced 16 yellow cards (which matched the World Cup record for most cautions in one game set in 2002) and set a new World Cup record of four red cards (two for either side) and was nicknamed "the Battle of Nuremberg" by the press.
The Dutch team went on to secure a 100 percent record in their qualification campaign, winning all of their eight games and becoming the first European team to book their tickets for SA 2010. The World Cup Draw in Cape Town on the 4th of December, 2009 saw the Dutch being placed alongside Denmark, Cameroon and Japan in Group E.
Coach: Bert van Marwijk. Succeeded Marco van Basten in July 2008. Van Marwijk started his coaching career with Fortuna Sittard and led the team to the 1999 Dutch Cup final. In 2000 he joined Feyenoord and won the Uefa Cup in 2002. After a spell at Borussia Dortmund, Van Marwijk returned to Feyenoord in July 2007 and won the Dutch Cup in 2008.
Robin van Persie (Arsenal): Aged 26 and plays in the attack line. He is a versatile player who is used mainly as a winger in the national team and as a central striker at Arsenal. Played all four matches at the 2006 World Cup finals and scored a superb free kick in the second group-stage match against Ivory Coast.
Mark van Bommel (Bayern Munich). Aged 32 and plays in the midfield. He is very experienced holding midfielder, son in law of coach Van Marwijk and captain of Bayern, he played three matches in the 2006 finals. Decided briefly not to play under previous coach Van Basten. Brings much-needed balance to the team.
Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool). Aged 27 and plays forward. Can play centrally or as a winger. Praised by his coaches for his determination, physical fitness and bustling approach. A true team player.
The Dutch team, presently 3rd on the FIFA table of classification are expected to go through from the group stages and then much will depend on the physical fitness of players like Van Persie and Arjen Robben. Have the potential to win the trophy.