The Netherlands came within an extra-time goal of winning their first World Cup title in 2010.
Despite that heartbreak, the Dutch went undefeated in their next 12 matches, including winning six Euro 2012 qualifying matches, en route to a brief stay atop FIFA’s World Rankings.
But the Netherlands ran into the proverbial wall at Euro 2012, losing three straight to Denmark, Germany and Portugal to finish at the bottom of Group B. It’s a humiliation from which the Oranje have not yet fully recovered.
After failing to post a win over a World Cup-qualified team since their Euro 2012 debacle, the Netherlands are currently pegged at a middling 25-1 odds to win the FIFA World Cup.
Dutch problems are further compounded by drawing into a strong group at Brazil 2014, one they are not guaranteed to survive. Group B features Spain, the national side that handed Netherlands their 2010 World Cup defeat.
Not surprisingly, Spain sits among the favorites to repeat at Brazil 2014, sporting odds of 13-2. Spain is nearly even money to win Group B, and a slight moneyline favorite to defeat the Dutch in their tournament-opening grudge match on June 13.
The Netherlands are listed as 3-1 underdogs in their match against Spain.
The other Group B threat facing the Netherlands is Chile. Ranked No. 13 in FIFA’s world rankings and sporting 40-1 odds, Chile is considered a dark horse to contend for the World Cup title.
The Dutch round out group play when they meet Chile on June 23, a match many expect will determine second place in Group B.
In the meantime the Netherlands will have ample opportunity to prepare, with three friendlies scheduled in May, two against World Cup qualified teams. The Oranje will take to the pitch in Amsterdam against No. 28 Ecuador on May 17.
Undefeated since suffering a 2-0 defeat to Spain in August, the Ecuadorians are currently pegged at 125-1 in World Cup 2014 futures betting, and are 7-2 underdogs to win a group that includes France and Switzerland.
On May 31, the Netherlands take on Ghana, a team they defeated 4-1 in a 2010 friendly. Ghana are 200-1 long shots heading to Brazil, and distant 12-1 long shots to win Group G, a “group of death” that includes Germany, Portugal and USA.