As the 1974 World Cup got underway, the Dutch team, which included Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens, saw off teams such as Argentina and Brazil in the second round. For the first time in the national team’s history, they progressed all the way to the final of the tournament. Sadly, despite an early penalty kick score, the Dutch team lost 1-2 to their West German opponents.
When the 1978 World Cup rolled around, the Dutch made it all the way to the final once again – this time even beating West Germany – but once again, they lost the final match to the host nation, Argentina.
For the next thirty-two years, the national team’s World Cup experiences would be a mix of highs and lows. For much of the 1980s, the team didn’t even qualify for the tournament. However, in 2010, the Dutch team that had shown promise at the 2008 European Championship suddenly seemed unstoppable. Throughout the qualifying rounds and then into the tournament, the team was on a winning streak with standout players such as Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Dirk Kuyt. Dutch fans became excited and superstitious during a very hot summer.
As the temperatures soared, so did the level of excitement as the Oranje squad triumphed once again over Germany, on their way to the final against Spain. Unfortunately, just as the heat wave eventually broke, so did the luck of the Dutch team and its fans. A hard-fought final match remained scoreless through the first ninety minutes, with Spain eventually finding the goal during extra time.