The Dutch national football team has been in existence since 1905 when they played their first international match against Belgium.   After the first World Cup competition was held in 1930 the Dutch side played in the 1934 and 1938 rounds, but then due to either not entering, or failing to qualify they did not play in the tournament again until the teams golden years of the 1970s.  During this period in the Netherlands teams such as Ajax and Feyenoord took a different approach to their style of play referred to as 'total football'. The 1970 World Cup winning Brazilian team captain Alberto has said 'their style of play was amazing to watch', this was referring to the Dutch team during the 1974 World Cup. During this same tournament the Dutch team reached the final for the first time but lost to Germany. Since then they have suffered the same fate losing against Argentina in 1978 and Spain in 2010, unfortunately they hold the title of being the team to have played in the most World Cup finals without actually winning any. The orange Holland Jersey has fared better in the UEFA European Championship, they won the competition in 1988 and up until their dismal performance in 2012 their lowest finishing position was 8th.

The 2012 European Championship was held in Poland and Ukraine, unfortunately for the Dutch national side the draw to place the teams in groups was not favourable. Holland were placed in what is now referred to as the 'group of death', this was Group B alongside Germany, Portugal and Denmark.  After losing each of the three matches in the group stages they did not progress further in the competition.  Well known, and much admired footballers such as Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben played in this loosing side, it was the first time in 20 years that the Dutch national side had lost three consecutive matches. Hindsight has allowed critics to point the finger in many directions to apportion fault, top strikers failed to deliver, exceptionally poor defending, tactical mistakes made by the management and a lack of team harmony coupled with three other top teams as opponents resulted in a terrible performance, this combination ultimately led to the sacking of manager Bert Van Marwijk.

Next year is the 2014 World Cup, it is to be held in Brazil.  The Dutch national football team with new manager Louis Van Gaal have been placed in Group D against Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Estonia and Andorra, they have so far played six qualification matches of which they have won all six, scoring the maximum 18 points putting them at the top of their group at present.  During September and October they will play four more matches to determine whether they will qualify for the final stage in Brazil next summer.  Theoretically the team are in a strong position, they have had some outstanding results in the games played so far beating Hungary 4-1 away, and scoring four goals against Romania in both the home and away legs.  The teams new manager is confident they will qualify for Brazil 2014 but has admitted he does not see the players in their Holland Jersey lifting the World Cup, perhaps he recognises it will be a much tougher battle to win against the likes of host nation Brazil, Argentina, Germany or reigning champions Spain.

What do you think the Dutch national sides chances are of lifting the World Cup?

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