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Netherlands

Netherlands

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Team Profile: Netherlands

GettyImagesDennis Bergkamp's winner against Argentina at France '98 was a true classic.

Appearances at finals:

1934 - First round
1938 - First round
1974 - Runners-up
1978 - Runners-up
1990 - Second round
1994 - Quarter-finals
1998 - Fourth place
2006 - Second round

Overall record at finals: Played 36, Won 16, Drawn 10, Lost 10.

Best performance: Runners-up in 1974 and 1978.

Most appearances at finals: Johnny Rep (1974, 1978), Ruud Krol (1974, 1978), Wim Jansen (1974, 1978) - 14.

Most goals at finals: Johnny Rep (1974, 1978) - 7.

World Cup high: Bringing 'total football' to the World Cup in 1974 when, in beating both Brazil and Argentina in the second group stage, they made it to the final despite it being a first appearance in the tournament for 36 years.

World Cup low: The ugly incident involving Netherland's Frank Rijkaard and Germany's Rudi Völler, resulting in both players being sent off and Rijkaard spitting in Voller's hair.

World Cup legend: Johan Cruyff, who, despite only playing in the 1974 finals, was central to the country's brand of 'brilliant orange', which catapulted the Dutch from obscurity to World Cup entertainers in the 70s.

The story so far: Netherlands' World Cup history is surprisingly sparse considering their modern reputation. After taking part in the first two tournaments, they failed to qualify again until the 70s, when they lost in two consecutive finals.

Even after that, the Dutch missed out on the finals in 1982 and 1986 and, later, in 2002. They have always promised much yet there is still the feeling that the Dutch have generally under-achieved in world football.

Qualification: Netherlands found their route to the finals in faultless fashion, becoming the first European side to qualify for South Africa in June 2009. They were handed an easy group with just four other nations, none of which had qualified for any finals tournament since 2000. The Dutch had a 100% record in Group Nine, but were not exactly prolific in scoring 17 goals in 8 games. Qualification was virtually assured by back-to-back 3-0 and 4-0 home wins over Scotland and Macedonia in the first qualifiers of 2009.

Qualifying record: P8, W8, D0, L0, F17, A2, Pts24.

Most appearances: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Andre Ooijer, Dirk Kuyt, Joris Mathijsen, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst (8).

Top goalscorers: Dirk Kuyt, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (3).