Brilliant Orange: Ranking the Best Dutch Internationals of All Time

Amogha SahuCorrespondent IIIJune 13, 2011

Brilliant Orange: Ranking the Best Dutch Internationals of All Time

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    19 Jun 1974:  Johan Cruyff of Holland in action during the World Cup match against Sweden played at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund, Germany. \ Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Holland is one of the greatest footballing nations in the world. Dutch clubs such as Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV, have excellent and well-recognized youth systems (particularly Ajax), which have produced some of the greatest players ever to play the game in a Holland shirt (Johan Cruyff being the prime example, in Rinus Michels's total football side of the '70s).

    As a national team, the Dutch have dazzled the world with their performances in World Cup competitions. The "Total Football" philosophy that Holland is reputed for irrevocably changed the face of the game worldwide, combining aesthetic pleasure with clinical efficiency in a 4-3-3 formation.

    These innovations. as well as talented players, made ripples on the face of the footballing world. Only the most talented can have the honour to be an Oranje. Let's look at the best players in the history of the game to have done that.  

Goalkeeper: Edwin Van Der Sar

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    BASEL, SWITZERLAND - JUNE 20: Edwin van der Sar of The Netherlands makes a save during training ahead of the Euro 2008 Quarter Final at St Jacob Park on June 20, 2008 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    The famed Dutchman is a giant, both in stature and in the football world. He has the incredible capacity to pull off match-winning saves. He does this week in, week out for his club side, Manchester United (at the age of 40!).

    Edwin Van der Sar's career, now at its zenith, has been illustrious and respectable. He has played for some of the most prestigious clubs in Europe (Ajax, Juventus and to a much lesser extent, Fulham). Unstoppable at the top of his game, Van Der Sar fully warrants his inclusion. 

Left-Back: Gio Van Bronckhorst

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    JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 11:  Referee Howard Webb issues Giovanni Van Bronckhorst of the Netherlands a yellow card during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Final match between Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City Stadium on July 11, 2010 in Jo
    Lars Baron/Getty Images

    Gio is one of the most experienced left-back's in the history of the game. Van Bronckhorst was a sublime left-back, much underrated by many. He has played for many prestigious clubs, like Barcelona and Arsenal and had a great run in the Dutch World Cup Campaign of 2010, where they reached the final. 

Centre-Back: Ronald Koeman

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    1992:  Ronald Koeman of Holland in action during the European Championships match against Denmark played in Sweden.  The match finished in a 2-2 draw. \ Mandatory Credit: Shaun Botterill /Allsport
    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Ronald Koeman is one of the greatest centre-backs in the history of the game. The Barcelona legend was a fearsome defender on his day, with qualities of boundless energy and tackling ability. He was also skilled with the ball dead at his feet, scoring the winner in extra time for Barcelona to win them the European Cup(1992).

    Nonwithstanding, Koeman had a great time at international level, playing in two European Championships and two World Cups. He was part of one of the greatest international rosters of all time. Holland's record during his tenure stands as follows:

    UEFA Euro 1988—Winners

    FIFA World Cup 1990—Round of 16

    UEFA Euro 1992—Semifinalists

    FIFA World Cup 1994—Quarterfinal

Centre-Back: Ruud Krol

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    18 Jan 1996:  Manager of Egypt Ruud Krol of Holland gives out orders to his players during their 2-1 defeat by Cameroon in the African Nations Cup at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. Mandatory Credit: Gary M. Prior/ALLSPORT
    Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

    Krol was versatile, to say the least. Capable of playing anywhere in defense including in defensive midfield, Krol was a fixture in the Ajax team of the '70s as well as the Dutch team that should have won the World Cup twice (in '74 and in '78). His trophy cabinet is immense and shows the quality defender Krol was:

    FIFA World Cup 1974, 1978, Runners up Medals (14 games, 1 goal)

    League Championship: 1968, '70, '72, '73, '77, '79, '80, '81

    Domestic cup: 1970, '71, '72, '79

    Coupe Intercontinentale: 1972

    European Cup Championship: 1971, '72, '73

    European Super Cup: 1972, '73

Right-Back: Wim Suurbier

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    13 Jun 1974:  General view of goalmouth action during the 1974 World Cup match between Brazil and Yugoslavia played at the Waldstadion in Frankfurt, West Germany. The match ended in a 0-0 draw.   \ Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport
    Getty Images/Getty Images

     Suurbier was one of the most talented right-backs in the history of the game. He had immense tackling ability as well as a great reading of the game. He was part of the great Ajax side of the '70s which won:

Defensive Midfielder: Frank Rijkaard

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    25 Jun 1988:  Frank Rijkaard of Holland battles with Oleg Protasov of the Soviet Union in action during the European Championship Final at the Olympic Stadium in Munich, West Germany. Holland won the match 2-0.  \ Mandatory Credit: David Cannon /Allsport
    David Cannon/Getty Images

    The Dutch maestro had it all: tackling ability, a great touch and great passing feet. He was part of the great Ajax side of the late '80s as well as the Milan side of the early '90s. He also won Euro 88 with Holland, and formed a great midfield partnership with Ruud Gullit.

Attacking Midfielder: Ruud Gullit

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    Jun 1988:  Ruud Gullit of Holland hold aloft the European nations trophy after Holland defeats Russia 2-0 in the Final of the European nations cup in Munich, Germany.                                     Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    The talented Dutch attacking midfielder formed a deadly partnership with Marco Van Basten at Milan and for his home country at Euro 88 and is one of the greatest players of all time. 

Attacking Midfielder: Johan Cruyff

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    19 Jun 1974:  Johan Cruyff of Holland in action during the World Cup match against Sweden played at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund, Germany. \ Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    The Dutchman is remembered for being the personification of Rinus Michels' football philosophy of total football. An exquisite midfielder remembered primarily for his dribbling and passing skill, he could play anywhere in midfield, even as a second striker.

    He was the centerpiece of the great Ajax and Holland teams of the '70s, and one of the greatest players of all time. 

Attacking Midfielder: Johan Neeskens

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    Dutch midfielder Johan Neeskens playing for Spanish club FC Barcelona, late 1970s. (Photo by Allsport/Getty Images)
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Johan Neeskens was the workmanlike partner of Johan Cruyff in the midfields of Ajax, Barcelona and the Netherlands. He played a part in the 1974 World Cup defeat to West Germany and was Holland's standout player in the 1978 World Cup run.

Striker: Dennis Bergkamp

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    4 Jul 1998:  Dennis Bergkamp of Holland goes past Roberto Ayala of Argentina during the World Cup quarter-final match at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, France. Bergkamp scored a late winner as Holland won 2-1. \ Mandatory Credit: Ben Radford /Allsport
    Ben Radford/Getty Images

    The class and technique of the Dutch striker earns him a place on this list. He was the focal point of the great Arsenal sides of 1998 and 2002, and is famous for his iconic goals against Newcastle United and against Argentina for Holland.

Striker: Marco Van Basten

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    25th June 1988: MARCO VAN BASTEN OF HOLLAND. Mandatory Credit: David Cannon/ALLSPORT
    David Cannon/Getty Images

    Marco Van Basten is (arguably) the greatest sriker in the history of World Football. He was part of the golden trinity of Van Basten, Rijkaard and Gullit at Milan, and also played at Ajax. He is famous for his goal against the Soviet Union (in Euro 88), which represented the peak of his career.