Strip Club–House Dancer Edition

At Euro 1996 I saw England destroy the Dutch 4-1 and dismissed them, but then I fell in love with Holland at the 1998 World Cup.  I enjoyed the way the Oranje played, with Davids and Cocu and Kluivert and Overmars and Bergkamp, who scored that fantastic goal against Argentina, and couldn’t wait for a final between Holland and France, but Brazil ruined that.  Two years on, I saw them sweep through the competition on home soil, including great games against France and the destruction of Yugoslavia before they fell to Italy on penalties.

AVEIRO, PORTUGAL - JUNE 19: Ruud Van Nistelrooy of Holland celebrates after scoring the second goal during the UEFA Euro 2004, Group D match between Holland and the Czech Rep at the Municiple de Aveiro Stadium on June 19, 2004 in Aveiro, Portugal. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ruud Van Nistelrooy

Somehow they did not qualify for the 2002 World Cup so my next chance to really watch them was in Portugal at Euro 2004, pitted against Germany, the Czech Republic and Latvia.  One of the best matches of the entire tournament was Holland against the Czech Republic (start at 4:01 of video), which featured the little and large combo up top of Baros and Koller, with Rosicky pulling the strings behind, plus Smicer and Poborsky and Nedved in the midfield. Holland came out on fire and were up 2-0 in the first 20 minutes after a headed goal from Bouma and a manipulation of the offside rule by Ruud van Nistelrooy.  The Czechs were able to pull one back as Holland tried to kill off the game in the second half, but Davids hit the post and RvN was denied by Petr Cech.  The moments after were truly magical as Koller chested down a cross for Baros to volley home and then minutes later, Smicer tapped in from close range after Van der Sar could only parry a shot and Poborsky unselfishly squared for his teammate.

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In the other group games, Van Nistelrooy scored an amazing header against Germany to share the points, and then Holland crushed Latvia in the final group game to earn a place in the knockout round.  I don’t really remember much from the quarterfinal with Sweden that ended with Holland prevailing on penalties.  The Dutch again went down in the semis as an absolutely stunning goal from Maniche put the Portuguese 2-0 up and into the Final on home soil.

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(images courtesy of Historical Kits)

These jerseys were another eBay special, getting both the home and away for a ridiculous price.  Again they are not 100% authentic, based on my research, but are pretty close.  Nike has done a good job with the Dutch kit over the years, and I love this template from Nike, which is one of their best efforts.  With the breastplate template and number centered and circled, the jerseys are class. Also the material is very light and breathes pretty well.  Unfortunately I ordered the wrong size so on a windy day I’m blown all over the field as the shirt acts as a wind sock but that’s my only complaint.

As I got ready to move to Atlanta, I went through my kit collection. While I loved these shirts and they had served me well through the years, I gave them to fellow soccer lover and groundhopper and podcast guest, Alex Baker. Hup Holland!!

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