We love to romanticize the past and it doesn’t get any better than the summer of 1988 when the Oranje finally ended the Netherlands ’ long wait for glory at the international stage. 32 years ago, the Oranje tasted success after defeating the Soviet Union in the Euro 88 Final. We look back at the starting eleven of the Euro 88 Final and see where are they now.

  • By Ibrahim Ayub
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The General, Rinus Michels, was back as the Netherlands manager. At his disposal was a collection of superb players such as Milan’s Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit, Real Zaragoza’s Frank Rijkaard, and PSV Eindhoven’s Hans van Breukelen, Ronald Koeman, Berry van Aerle and Gerald Vanenburg who had just won the European Cup a few weeks before Euro 88 kicked off along with Ajax players such as Jan Wouters, John van ‘t Schip and Arnold Mühren. Without further ado, we look back at the starting eleven of the Euro 88 Finals Oranje side.

Hans van Breukelen

Berry van Aerle – Frank Rijkaard – Ronald Koeman – Adri van Tiggelen

Gerald Vanenburg – Jan Wouters – Arnold Mühren – Erwin Koeman

Ruud Gullit  – Marco van Basten

Hans van Breukelen – GK

Hans van Breukelen was the imposing goalkeeper for the Oranje during the 80s. He made his debut in 1980 while with FC Utrecht. He had just won the European Cup with PSV Eindhoven before joining up the Oranje for Euro 88 where he pulled off a memorable penalty save in the final to keep it 2-0. He would continue to represent the national team until after Euro 92 before retiring from football in 1994 after a stint with Nottingham Forest. He later became a technical director at Utrecht and was a  motivational speaker. In June 2016, van Breukelen was appointed technical director of the Dutch FA before he returned to PSV in July 2019 as one of their Board of Directors.

Berry van Aerle – RB – @BVanaerle

Right-back Berry van Aerle made his debut for the Oranje in 1987 while with PSV. He was also another PSV player who had won the European Cup prior to Euro 88. He would go on Was on the national team for Euro 92 (on the bench during the Denmark game) and his final Oranje appearance was against Poland in October 1992 for WC 94 QWF. He retired from football in 1995 after leaving PSV for Helmond Sport before retiring from the game. He is currently a scout for PSV and was also recently involved in a campaign sponsored by Philips, visiting elderly homes and standing outside their windows with the European Cup.

Frank Rijkaard – CB –

Frank Rijkaard lined up in the heart of the defense for the Oranje during Euro 88. He made his debut in 1981 while with Ajax Amsterdam. However, he was on loan with Real Zaragoza after a falling out with Ajax manager Johan Cruyff. Rijkaard would then move to Milan to join his Oranje teammates, Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit before retiring from the Oranje after World Cup 1994. He returned to Ajax and helped them win the 1995 Champions League with the Final being his last match. He managed the Oranje for Euro 2000 and managed Barça to two league titles and the Champions League in 2006. He had coaching stints with Galatasaray and Saudi Arabia later on. He was hired by the Florida prep school, Montverde Academy, as their advisor of player development but in December 2016, Rijkaard announced he would no longer pursue a position as manager. On March 5, 2020, Rijkaard and Gullit opened their own Cruyff Court in Amsterdam

Ronald Koeman – CB – @RonaldKoeman

Ronaldo Koeman was the dynamic defender who was a terror to opposing goalkeepers thanks to his powerful long-range strikes. Koeman made his debut in 1983 while with Groningen. He was also one of the PSV stars who just hoisted the European Cup and would win it again with Cruyff’s Barça. Koeman retired from the Oranje after World Cup 1994 and retired in 1997 with Feyenoord. He went on to manage Vitesse, Ajax, Benfica, PSV, Valencia, Feyenoord, Southampton, and Everton. He is currently the Oranje manager and was recently hospitalized with heart problems.

Adri van Tiggelen – LB – @adri34246926

Adri van Tiggelenwas the other Oranje fullback for the Euro 88 Oranje team while with Anderlecht. He made his debut in 1983 while with Groningen and retired from the Oranje in 1994as a PSV player. He retired from football in 1995 after leaving PSV for Dordrecht’90 for one season before retiring from the game. He had stints with Sparta Rotterdam as an assistant and interim manager and also managed VV Zuidland in the lower Dutch leagues. He returned to Sparta Rotterdam as a scout back in April 2018 and has an account on twitter which he hasn’t used since 2013.

Gerald Vanenburg – RM –

Gerald Vanenburg operated on the right side of the Oranje midfield during Euro 88. Gerald made his debut for the Oranje in 1982 while with Ajax and his final Oranje appearance was against Poland in October 1992 in a 1994 World Cup qualifier. He would go on to have spells with PSV, Júbilo Iwata, Utrecht, Cannes before retiring in 2000 with 1860 Munich. He quickly took up coaching as an assistant manager and manager with 1860 Munich, PSV U-19 team, Helmond Sport and FC Eindhoven. His final coaching job was that of assistant manager of Willem II Tilburg until June 2009 and since then, he has been out of the spotlight with the occasional interview.

Jan Wouters – CM –

Jan Wouters one of the two central midfielders for the Oranje who made his debut in 1982 while with Utrecht.  He retired from the Oranje after the 1994 World Cup. He would go on to play for Ajax, Bayern Munich before retiring with PSV in 1996. He wasted no time getting into coaching soon afterward with stints as an assistant, caretaker, and manager with Utrecht, Ajax, Rangers, PSV, and Kasımpaşa. He was an assistant coach at Feyenoord until 2018.

Arnold Mühren – CM –

Arnold Mühren was Wouters’ partner in the central midfield of the Oranje. He made his debut for the Oranje in 1978 while with Ipswich Town and retired from the Oranje after Euro 88, with his cross to Marco van Basten being his final assist for the Dutch; what a proper way to end your national team career. Arnold played for Volendam, Ajax, Twente, Ipswich Town, Manchester United before retiring from the game in 1989 with Ajax. Unlike his other teammates, Arnold did not venture into coaching but still is available for the occasional media appearances with interviews here and there.

Erwin Koeman – LM –

Erwin Koeman, the brother of Ronald Koeman, was in charge of the left midfield of the 1988 Oranje side and made his Oranje debut in 1983 while with Groningen and his final Oranje appearance was in January 1994. He would go on to play for PSV and Mechelen before retiring in 1998 with Groningen. He too would follow in his brother’s footsteps and get into coaching with stints, at both club level and international level, with RKC Waalwijk, Feyenoord, Hungary, Utrecht, Eindhoven, RKC Waalwijk, and Fenerbahçe. He was fired as Oman’s national team manager back in December 2019 and he and his brother along with other Oranje players were part of the campaign to support their former club Groningen by buying season tickets to offset club financial losses suffered during the pandemic.

Ruud Gullit  – CF – @GullitR

The Captain of Oranje during Euro 88, Ruud Gullit played upfront with Marco van Basten and scored the opening goal in the first half of the Final, courtesy of a van Basten cross. Ruud made his debut in 1981 while with HFC Haarlem and his final Oranje appearance came right before he abruptly retired prior to World Cup 1994 after falling out with manager Dick Advocaat. His magnificent career saw him also play for Feyenoord, PSV, AC Milan, Sampdoria, and Chelsea where his final days as a player was as a player-manager with Chelsea before he was sacked in 1998. He went on to manage Newcastle, Feyenoord, LA Galaxy, Terek Grozny and oddly enough, he was an assistant coach of the Oranje when Dick Advocaat was in charge back in May 2017 until Ronald Koeman was hired as the new Oranje manager in February 2018 and Gullit wasn’t retained. Nevertheless, Gullit has established himself as a pundit for BBC, Sky, ESPN, and other TV networks and as stated earlier, he and Frank Rijkaard opened their own Cruyff Court in Amsterdam on March 5, 2020.

Marco van Basten – CF –

Marco van Basten, the final member of the starting eleven of the magnificent Oranje eleven, and Ruud Gullit’s partner up front who scored the second goal in the Final that many consider one of the greatest, goals of all-time. The “Swan Of Utrecht” made his Oranje debut in 1982 with Ajax and retired from the Oranje after Euro 1992. Van Basten’s legendary career saw him shine with Milan while winning the Ballon d’Or three times. However, injuries took their toll on Marco as he stopped playing football at the age of 29.  Marco would also go into management by starting off with Jong Ajax, and then Ajax before taking the Oranje to World Cup 2006 and Euro 2008. He would then go on to manage Heerenveen, AZ before stepping down to become an assistant coach because of stress issues. He would return to the Oranje as an assistant coach under Danny Blind. In August 2016, Marco became a technical director for FIFA and works for Fox Sports as an analyst.

Ibrahim Ayyub (24 Posts)