After watching Netherlands disappoint fans in previous international tournaments, Ibrahim Ayyub urges caution after the 5-1 hammering of Spain.

ned v spaHolland’s impressive 5-1 victory over defending World Cup and European Cup champions Spain was one for the ages. Four years after that bitter defeat in the World Cup Final, Holland exacted revenge in the only way you can bury the past, with a crushing victory. However, Holland must put aside the euphoria and focus on the task at hand. History has shown us that Holland’s euphoria from results like these is usually overshadowed by bitter disappointment later on.

I have been cheering on the Oranje since I was young lad during Euro 88 and it’s not the first time that Holland has been in a position like this. Holland has a history of generating euphoria after a great result during an international tournament. However, they usually end up breaking our hearts after getting our hopes up with euphoria.

During Euro 92, Holland crushed then reigning World Cup champions Germany, 3-1 in what was Dennis Bergkamp’s coming out party for the world. This was just 2 years after their awful exit from the World Cup by the hands of the Germans in the knock out stages.  Holland looked like they were on a roll and were the favorites to defeat Denmark in the Semi-Finals. However, Denmark pulled off the upset and sent the Oranje home when Marco van Basten’s penalty was saved by Schmeichel in the penalty shootout. The next two competitions, World Cup 1994 and Euro 1996 did not present the Oranje and their fans any euphoria as they struggled for the most part to impress with the exception of defeating Ireland in the first round of the knock out stages of the 1994 World Cup which came as no surprise.

During World Cup 1998, Holland blasted South Korea 5-0 and spirits were up when they eliminated Argentina in the Quarter-Finals through a last gasp Dennis Bergkamp goal. Revenge for the World Cup final loss to Argentina in 1978 and hopes were high against a Brazil side that seemed to be not firing on all cylinders, especially after their nervy win against Denmark in the Quarter-Finals. Unfortunately, Holland’s euphoria was short lived as they were knocked out in the Semi-Finals by Brazil in a heart breaking penalty shootout.

Two years later, Holland put on a great show during Euro 2000 and euphoria was at an all-time high when they defeated Yugoslavia 6-1 in the Quarter-Finals. Unfortunately, Holland did their best at shooting themselves in the foot by crashing out to Italy in a penalty shootout. If the loss to Brazil was heart breaking, then this exit was gut wrenching seeing as they wasted two penalties against short-handed Italy in regulation time prior to missing three more in the ensuing shootout. Missing the World Cup later on was just a bitter pill to swallow after this painful elimination.

In Euro 2004, Holland finally ended their shootout nightmares after defeating Sweden in the Quarter-Finals in a shootout, only to be eliminated by Portugal in the Semi-Finals. Their lackluster performance against the Portuguese put a serious damper on the shootout victory euphoria. Their 2006 World Cup performance was very lackluster and their elimination by Portugal in the first round of the knock out stages brought more concerns.

Euro 2008 however saw the Oranje impress with crushing victories over the then World Cup champions Italy 3-0 and followed it up with an impressive 4-1 beating of the French in the group stage. The Oranje’s euphoria though was shattered when they were eliminated in the Quarter-Finals by Russia where they failed to impress. Two years later, Holland made it all the way to the World Cup Final in South Africa but failed to make the most from the biggest euphoria possible, making it to a World Cup Final, by losing to Spain in a negative performance which was criticized afterwards by many. Of course, the less said about Euro 2012; the better for obvious reasons.

So yes, Holland got us all pumped up about the Oranje after their 5-1 win over Spain when many had low expectations heading into this World Cup. They have Australia and Chile next. I highly doubt they will blow it against Australia so they will qualify for the knock out stages. Hopefully, the Oranje can build on this euphoria and finally end our misery. However, history has shown us that disappointment is on the books. One can only hope that van Gaal has these guys focused and are taking it one game at a time and not let this Spain result go to their heads.

I still have my doubts on this team. During their recent friendlies, I always wanted to see how they would respond if they were down a goal. Well, they responded against Spain alright. I still worry that this could be a repeat of Euro 2008 where they looked great on the counter attack but struggled when they had to chase the game with a subpar back four. We shall see but the important thing is to be cautious after this euphoric victory.

About the Author:

Longtime suffering Oranje fan from the late 80s and FC Barcelona fan since the mid 90s. I currently contribute to the Miami Penya / FC Barcelona Supporters Club & my own blog at http://ibes16.blogspot.com/




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