UPDATE September 2019:
A little over a year ago I wrote a post about the future for Dutch football.After missing out on both the 2016 Euros and 2018 World Cup, things were looking better for Dutch football. Ronald Koeman was announced as manager of the Dutch team and talented players were upcoming. Now, a year later it’s quite impressive to see what happened with Dutch football. The national team reached the UEFA Nations League finals after winning their group with giants France and Germany. After losing their Euro 2020 qualification match at home against Germany, they took revanche in and against Germany by beating their arch rivals with 2-4. Ajax, the biggest Dutch club, made name from themselves in the last Champions League season. After surviving 3 UCL qualification rounds, Ajax impressed the whole world by reaching the Champions League semi-final, in which they unfortunately lost in the dying seconds of their tie with Tottenham Hotspur. Dutch football is filled with amazing big talents. Frenkie de Jong deserved a transfer to Fc Barcelona, Matthijs de Ligt moved to Juventus. A player like Donyell Malen showed amazing development over the last year for PSV, which even led to his scoring on his debut for the national team in the 2-4 victory over Germany. Memphis Depay and Virgil van Dijk take their responsibilities and are the big leaders for the national team. I can honestly say that the future is really looking bright for Dutch football and we will see the orange machine back on the biggest stages any time soon.
The Dutch national team is a team that is liked by many football loving people around the world. This started in the 70’s, when Johan Cruijff almost led his team to win the World Cup. The orange footballing machine did the same in 2010, when they lost the final in extra time against Spain. Four years later, Louis van Gaal managed his team to the third place in the 2014 World Cup tournament. A big shock for many, but not for the insiders in Dutch football. There were a lot of problems within the team, combined with an average generation, this led to 4 years without the Netherlands at an international tournament. With Ronald Koeman at the helm, things are chancing and the Dutch clearly have a bright future ahead of them.
The Netherlands played their first match in the UEFA Nations League against the World Cup winner. A hard task for a team that didn’t even managed to qualify for this tournament. Even though the French team is a much better team, I’ve seen some sign that the orange machine is on his way back. The absolute highlight for the Dutch was Frenkie de Jong. The 21-year-old Ajax player, made his first start for the national team. I watch him every match for Ajax and I have to say, he played exactly against France just like he played in the Dutch Eredivisie. He never showed any signs of nervousness. He demanded the ball from the very first minute of this match. This is going to be one of the best midfielders of the world in a few years time.
Frenkie de Jong isn’t the only hope for Dutch football. Matthijs de Ligt is already one of the best centre backs in the world. Combine these two Ajax youngsters with the likes of Steven Bergwijn, Justin Kluivert and Donny van der Beek and you see there is a lot of potential. The only big worry for Dutch football lovers is the striker position. Daishan Redan, who currently plays for Chelsea, can become the striker for the Netherlands. He is one of those young Dutch players who moved to England at the age of 16. So far we haven’t seen this work out for the better, but I hope for Dutch people that he is going to be the first youngster who really makes it.