We edge closer to revealing the greatest Dutch footballer at a World Cup by revealing numbers 10-6 on our list.

van der sar as10- Edwin van der Sar

Tournament played: 1998, 2006

Picked as a member of Netherlands World Cup squad in 1994, Van der Sar did not make an appearance during the tournament, but was first choice in both the 1998 and 2006 tournaments.

Van der Sar was solid throughout the 1998 tournament in France, but was probably best known for being on the end of a headbutt from Argentinian Ariel Ortega in the quarter finals. The then Ajax stopper was excellent in the semi-final against Brazil, making a brilliant diving save to deny Ronaldo netting the winner in extra time, before the Dutch eventually succumb on penalties.

In 2006, Netherlands would disappoint, and exit the tournament in the first knockout round in that famous dirty match against Portugal. However Van der Sar was one of the Dutch players who could hold his head up high with top performances during the tournament. A one handed stop from Carlos Tevez in the group stages which helped the Dutch to a 0-0 draw against Argentina was a particular highlight.

Van der Sar will go down in history as one of, if not the greatest Netherlands goalkeepers of all time.

haan9- Arie Haan

Tournaments played: 1974, 1978

Usually a defensive midfielder for Ajax, Rinus Michels showed his tactical genius by moving the tough tackling Arie Haan into his defence for the 1974 World Cup.

Alongside Wim Rijsbergen, the two formed an excellent partnership that would eventually take the nation to the final. Haan would act almost like a midfield sweeper during games where he would sit in front of Rijsbergen, retrieve the ball then get the team moving forward again.

The defence worked as Netherlands would only concede once in the six games before the final, and that goal was put into his own net by left back Ruud Krol. In the final against West Germany, Netherlands dominated, but crucial errors led to the team losing 2-1. For Gerd Mullers goal which won the game, Haan was out of position, leaving Krul to try and stop the German, but as we all know, Muller swiveled and drove into the net.

In 1978, Haan would move into his familiar midfield role under new boss Ernst Happel, and in the 0-0 draw against Peru in the group stages, he would even be used as a makeshift forward.

Crucially Happel unhappy with Haan’s performance against Peru, axed the midfielder from his team all together against Scotland, and the usually tight midfield and defence, got taken apart, losing 3-2.

Unsurprisingly, Haan then began every game after the defeat, and netted a crucial goal in the 2-2 draw against West Germany in the second round with a stunning 35-yard drive.

You would have though the Italians would have seen this game, and would have known not to give the midfielder any space in the match that would determine who faced Argentina in the final.

However Italy didn’t learn a lesson from the Germany game, and with the match poised delicately at 1-1, Haan took a short free kick before smashing a 25 yard curler past Dino Zoff and into the top corner. A stunning goal.

The rest sadly is history, as Argentina would defeat Netherlands, and condemn Haan to another final defeat.

de boer 988- Frank de Boer

Tournaments played: 1994, 1998

One of Netherlands greatest ever defenders, Frank de Boer played a crucial role in both Netherlands run to the quarter finals in 1994, and the semi finals in 1998.

In 1994, De Boer played as the wing back in Netherlands back four with Frank Rijkaard and Ronald Koeman in the centre, with the Ajax defender setting up a late winner for Gaston Taument in the opening game against Saudi Arabia. De Boer was an ever present in the side that made its way through the group stages and beat Ireland 2-0 in the first knockout round.

However De Boer missed the quarter final against Brazil, after being named on the bench, with Netherlands eventually going down 3-2.

De Boer captained Netherlands at France 98, and this time formed a formidable partnership with Jaap Stam in the centre of the Dutch defence.

The Ajax great was a great tackler, but also an exceptional passer of the ball, and he was the man who supplied the superb 60-yard ball for Dennis Bergkamp to finish in style against Argentina in the quarter finals. Bergkamp’s technique and finish was superb, but it was De Boer’s vision and pass that made the goal happen.

In the penalty shootout with Brazil in the semi-finals, Frank de Boer was first up for Netherlands, and after an excellent game were he mostly contained the dangerous Ronaldo, the defender smashed in his spot kick. His brother Ronald, and Phillip Cocu would eventually miss theirs though, and the Dutch went out.

A leader on and off the pitch, De Boer was a delight to watch.

krol7- Ruud Krol

Tournaments played: 1974, 1978

The Dutch version of Paulo Maldini, Krol was not only an excellent left back, but he could also play equally as well in the centre of defence. Tall, agile, and pacy Krol had all the attributes needed to play as either a wing back or in the centre of defence, and lit up both the 1974 and 78 tournaments.

Krol was excellent throughout the 1974 tournament, setting up Johan Cruyff’s great goal against Brazil, while also scoring a stunner in the 4-0 win over Argentina in the second round. However he also netted an own goal against Morocco, the only goal Netherlands conceded in the tournament before the final, and was the man who was turned by Gerd Muller in the final, when the German scored the winning goal.

In 1978, Krol would move into the centre back position and play as the sweeper in the team, he was also handed the captains armband in the absence of Johan Cruyff.

Aside from the 3-2 defeat to Scotland, Krol had an outstanding tournament, and was rock solid in the defence alongside Poortvliet, and Brandts. He could not prevent the eventual defeat to Argentina in the final, but would later be named in FIFA’s all star team of the tournament. 

rep 66-  Johnny Rep

Tournaments Played: 1974, 1978

A great finisher, Fast, strong and tricky, Rep would play on the right hand side of the attack in 1974 with Rensenbrink on the left, and Cruyff through the middle. Although all three generally switched position’s throughout the tournament.

The Ajax star started the tournament on fire as he headed Netherlands ahead against Uruguay in the opening game before making it 2-0 in the second half after a fine team move. Further goals would come for Rep against Bulgaria, and Argentina, as the Dutch stormed into the final against West Germany.

Rep was a deadly finisher, but that skill went missing on the day of the final, as with the game sitting at 1-1 Cruyff squared the ball to his striking partner with only the goalkeeper to beat. A simple side foot finish could have sealed Netherlands the World Cup, but Rep chose to blast the ball instead, and he hit it straight at Maier. The chance passed, and West Germany went on to triumph.

Four years later Rep would head to the World Cup in Argentina, this time as a central striker after Cruyff pulled out. Coach Ernst Happel wasn’t Rep’s biggest fan, and dropped him from the starting line up for the group game against Peru, which finished 0-0.

Rep would be recalled for the game with Scotland, with the forward winning a penalty, and also netting with a stunning long range drive which sealed Netherlands qualification to the next round despite a 3-2 defeat.

In the next round, Rep netted two great goals against Austria in 5-1 victory, which would turn out to be his last in the tournament.

After starting the final against Argentina, Rep would eventually be substituted in the second half, after missing two good chances to score, and it was his replacement Dick Nanninga that netted the equaliser to send the game into extra time.

Rep to this day still holds the record for being Netherlands top goalscorer in World Cups with seven goals. However its not enough as he just misses out on our top five.

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