Pitch Dish

For the first time in 20 years, No ‘Van’ Playing for Netherlands

Since 1996, there has always been one player with their last name starting with ‘Van’ playing in their match.

Because Ron Van Persie must sit out versus Chile due to accumulated yellow cards, the Netherlands will break their 221 match streak of of Van’s playing.

The last time the Netherlands played in the World Cup finals without a ‘Van’ they lost a group match in 1994 in Orlando to neighbors Belgium, for whom Franky van der Elst lined up on the other side.

Injury before the tournament in Brazil kept Rafael van der Vaart out of the Dutch squad and full back Gregory van der Wiel, who played in the 2010 final, was left out because of poor form.

Dutch football is littered with venerable footballing ‘Vans’ – Marco van Basten, Edwin van der Sar, Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Ruud van Nistelrooy in recent times and the likes of Willem van Hanegem and the Van der Kerkhof brothers, who played in past World Cups.

Pretty ironic this is happening under coach Louis van Gaal.

Read More: reuters.com

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