Netherlands came within an extra time goal of winning the 2010 World Cup.
But after recent struggles that include going winless at Euro 2012, the Oranje own long 25-1 odds of winning the 2014 World Cup.
The Oranje were a dominant force in South Africa, recording notable knockout stage wins over Brazil and Uruguay before falling to Spain in the final. In 2011, they became the first nation without a World Cup title to reach No. 1 on FIFA’s World Rankings.
However, Euro 2012 was a humiliation for Netherlands. After drawing into the group of death alongside Germany, Portugal and Denmark, Netherlands lost their matches against all three to make a surprisingly early exit from the tournament.
The squad followed up by cruising through World Cup qualifying without a loss, but have failed to record a win over a nation that has also qualified for Brazil 2014.
Netherlands has drawn into a tough Group B, which includes Spain, Chile and Australia. Currently pegged at 5-2 to win the group, Netherlands kicks off their group stage schedule with a chance at redemption when they face Spain, a 20-27 favorite in group wagering and a solid 6-1 futures bet to repeat as World Cup champion.
Netherlands will also enter their Friday the 13 match against Spain as underdogs, currently 4-1 on the moneyline, while the Spanish are 4-5 favorites.
A loss to Spain will immediately put Netherlands’ tournament fortunes in doubt; increasing the pressure on the Oranje to take three points in their match against 33-1 group-betting long shot Australia, a squad that the Dutch have never defeated.
The Dutch close out the group stage against Chile, who own 7-2 odds to win Group B and will enjoy the benefit of playing relatively close to home.
Of greatest concern to Dutch soccer fans are the implications of a second-place finish in Group B, which would set the stage for a round-of-16 match against the winner of Group A, where host Brazil is a heavy 2-9 group betting favorite.
Netherlands’ 2-1 quarter-final win at the 2010 World Cup was their first against Brazil since the 1974 World Cup. A finish atop their group would certainly provide Netherlands with a better chance to make a deeper run in the knockout stage.
Despite the long odds, Netherlands is a team loaded with talent including Manchester United’s star striker Robin van Persie, the national side’s all-time leading goal scorer and a 25-1 props bet to be top scorer at Brazil 2014.