Why Have The Netherlands Had and Have Such Good Football Players for Such A Small Population? (Explained!)

Last Updated on May 15, 2022 by

For several decades, Dutch football is renowned for its model of developing young talented players. This investment in youth development has successfully produced top-quality footballers who eventually grew up to become core members of the National team. In addition to the above narratives, Dutch clubs are known to be a source of football talents both in the past and present. The set of players often secure a move to the top leagues in the world of football and their talents eventually rub off on the National team which has been quite successful through the years. The Netherlands is considered one of the major powerhouses in football due to its massive investment in amateur and youth football across all levels.

In general terms, football is by far the most popular sport in the Netherlands with street football and amateur football being watched by the majority of its citizens. However, population size has proven to be inconsequential to how great a country can be in football. Several countries that have an extremely large population size are terrible at football while some relatively small populated countries have taken the elites in the football game by storm with superb performances. Despite its relatively small population size, Several football superstars have emerged from the Netherlands and gone to play for the biggest clubs in football as compared to massively populated countries like China, Pakistan, India, and the united states. The Dutch are constantly in a rebuilding process as world-class talented players emerges, which has been the bedrock of the National team’s success in football through the years.

For a country of the Netherlands population size, churning out football talents year after year is unique and extraordinary. If you are on the lookout for resources to satisfactorily answer your queries on how they have managed to do this decades after decades, seek no further as this article is the right piece you need. Without further ado, let’s get right into it!

How does the Netherlands have such a good football team despite its small population size?

How does the Netherlands have such a good football team

On the global stage, Dutch football academies are up there as one of the best in the world. Emerging football stars are produced from these youth academies and eventually grow to become the best players in the world. For several decades, the Netherlands has produced talented players from one era to another, which has immensely contributed to the growth and success of the National football teams through the years. From the era of the legendary Johan Cruyff and the iconic Marco Van Basten, the Dutch have once had superstars like Edwin Van Der Sar, Giovanni Van Bronkhorst, Jaap Stam, Edgar Davids, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Arjen Robben, and Wesley Sneijder in their ranks and these players played for the biggest clubs in Europe during their career days. This success of these players had a positive impact on the National team which is why we usually see a talented football team anytime the Netherlands football team steps out to play. In addition to that, the Dutch are renowned for their investment in skillful and highly technical players right from a youthful age, which makes its population size a less determining factor in its consistent production of good players.

How successful is the Dutch National team in International football?

How successful is the Dutch National team in International football

Although the Netherlands national team has yet to win a world cup trophy in their football history, they are still considered one of the teams in international football for several decades. They have actively participated in several FIFA world cups, emerging as the four best teams in the tournament on several occasions. Precisely in 1974, 1978, and most recently in the 2010 FIFA world cup in South Africa, the Netherlands national team made it to the final only to agonizingly lost on the three occasions by fine margins. In addition to that, the team is renowned for its attacking and focused gameplay which has undisputedly earned them an infamous tag as one of the best national teams that have never won a world cup title. 

Who was the greatest Dutch footballer of all time?

Ranging from the early 70s to the late 2000s, the Netherlands national teams have produced a great generation of players. The team was utterly dominant in the early 70s with a bunch of great team players spearheaded by the legendary Johann Cruyff. The late 80s produced another set of great players like Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and of course the current national team coach Ronald Koeman The trend continues in the early 2000s with the emergence of great players like Patrick Kluivert, Dennis Bergkamp, and Clarence Seedorf, and most recently the likes of Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin Van Persie in the early 2010s. However, the Netherlands greatest player of all time is undisputedly Johann Cruyff. He was phenomenal and a true footballing genius both as a player and as a manager.


Below is a compiled list of frequently asked questions about why the Netherlands has such a good football team with its relatively small population. Let’s check them out!

How popular is football in the Netherlands?

Arguably, football is the most populous sport in the country and it is played across all levels. Field hockey and korfball come in a distant 2nd and 3rd positions respectively.

Has Netherlands national football team ever won a major tournament? 

Yes! The Frank Rijkaard led generation of great players won on the UEFA European Championship in 1988.

Did the Netherlands qualifies for the 2022 world cup?

 After the disappointment of missing out in the 2018 world cup in Russia, the Netherlands have qualified for the Qatar 2022 world cup. They secure an automatic qualification by topping their qualifying group.

Closing thoughts

The Netherlands have a rich history in football and they are committed to the model of developing young talented players. This formula has proved to be successful with the emergence of generational talents decades after decades, which has push the National team up the ladder as one of the football powerhouse on international football stage.

This resources in this write-up was gathered to answer all your queries regarding the article topic and we hope you find it informative enough. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have more questions.


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