The Oranje kicked off their 2022 World Cup with a 2-0 victory over Senegal courtesy of second half goals from Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen. It was a performance that could be construed as underwhelming, but that’s usually what we have come to expect from the Flying Dutchmen.

  • By Ibrahim Ayyub
  • Follow Ibrahim on Twitter

The Oranje are part of the World Cup again after failing to qualify back in 2018. They kicked off their 2022 World Cup campaign with a 2-0 victory over Senegal in what could be considered an underwhelming performance. However, that’s how the Oranje, usually kick off their World Cup campaigns.

The first group match for some World Cup teams are usually a cagey affair for multiple reasons such as nerves or caution. Not all teams come flying out of the gate at the World Cup, and the Dutch are no exception. Sure, many remember the Oranje kicking off World Cup 2014 with a great 5-1 victory over Spain. Yet, those types of results are not typical for the Oranje dating back to World Cup 1990.

For longtime fans such as myself, watching the Oranje in their first World Cup group matches has not been exactly enjoyable, with some being underwhelming, disappointing, and excruciating. Who could have thought the 1990 squad consisting of the legends Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard ad Ronaldo Koeman, who had just won Euro 88 two years prior, would play to a 1-1 draw with Egypt? Wim Kieft scored around the hour mark, but Egypt equalized from the spot in the final minutes of the match. Four years later, the Oranje managed a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Saudi Arabia thanks to goals from Wim Jonk and Gaston Taument. The 1998 clash against Belgium ended in a dire scoreless draw that I prefer to never relive again.

In 2006, Holland defeated Serbia and Montenegro 1-0 with an early first-half goal from Arjen Robben. In 2010, they defeated Denmark 2-0 with two second-half goals courtesy of a Daniel Agger own goal, and Dirk Kuyt scoring the insurance goal in the final five minutes. The most memorable opening match victory was the 5-1 demolition of World Cup champions, Spain in World Cup 2018. After Xabi Alonso converted from the spot, the Oranje scored five unanswered goals from Stefan de Vrij and Robben and Robin van Persie both scoring a brace.

As you can see, the opening match for the Oranje is not an indicator of things to come. They have qualified for the knockout stages every time they have been in the World Cup since 1990 and have failed to advance from the Round of 16 only twice. It was important for the Oranje to win their opening match; just ask Argentina and Germany if they wouldn’t like to swap places with Holland right now. One can only hope that this team will follow in the footsteps of prior teams who improved with each game and ended up going far in the World Cup.

Ibrahim Ayyub (24 Posts)