Ireland vs. Netherlands: A recent history

The two teams meet for the first time in nearly ten years on Friday

BY Daniel Kelly 13:10 Friday 27 May 2016, 13:10 27 May 2016

Niall Quinn scoring in the 1990 World Cup. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

The Dutch return to Irish shores this week as their national team look set to face Ireland in a match for almost the first time in a decade. 

The two teams have met each other 21 times, with Ireland winning only a third of those games and losing 11. Their first match against each other came in the 1924 Olympics in Paris when Ireland lost 2-1 after extra-time. 

Despite the rivalry being over 90 years old, it only took its place in the public's consciousness in 1988, when the two teams were drawn together in the European Championships. A Wim Kieft goal, eight minutes from time, gave the Dutch a 1-0 win in Gelsenkirchen and robbed Ireland of the chance of reaching the semi-finals.

From that game in West Germany, the teams were to meet in competitive games in three of the next five tournaments, as Ireland failed to win any of those fixtures.

Throughout the years, a number of clashes between the two sides have stood out for one reason or another, so here are five of the most memorable games involving the two teams from recent memory.

21/6/1990: Ireland 1-1 The Netherlands 

When looking back on the 1990 World Cup, it is easy to forget how poor Ireland's group games actually were. Three games produced three draws, but the country was high at the euphoria Italia '90 brought.

The team's final group game came against the Dutch in Palermo, and Jack Charlton knew a win would be enough to guarantee a place in the second round. A draw would mean the team would be at the mercy of the result from the game in Cagliari between England and Egypt at the same time.

A Niall Quinn equaliser from a Hans van Breukelen fumble, 20 minutes from time cancelled out Ruud Gullit's opening goal. Quinn's goal meant that the two teams finished with identical records and a drawing of lots took place to see what teams both would face in the next round. Ireland ended up against Romania. The Dutch were paired with eventual champions West Germany. What a lucky escape...

4/7/1994: The Netherlands 2-0 Ireland

The teams met again four years later for the second World Cup in a row. This time, the stifling heat and humidity of Orlando was the venue for the Round of 16 tie between the two teams.

The 2-0 result doesn't explain how easy the game was for Dick Advocaat's team as first-half goals from Dennis Bergkamp and Wim Jonk guaranteed the win. As Ireland tried to chase the game in the second-half, it was Holland who looked more likely to score another goal.

From an Irish perspective, the game will be best remembered for Packie Bonner's mistake that led to Jonk's goal. The goalkeeper let the ball slip through his hands as a save seemed an easier option. 

13/12/1995: Ireland 0-2 The Netherlands

Ireland's heartbreak with play-off in recent times can be traced back to that night in Liverpool. Unlike nowadays, where there are numerous play-offs ahead of tournaments, Euro 96 had only one place available via that route.

Both teams met in a one-off match in Liverpool after finishing second in their groups. The two sides were the only ones not to qualify automatically after runners-up finishes in qualification.

Months after Ajax won the Champions League, a large proportion of the team led by a teenage Patrick Kluivert played Ireland off the park to comfortably win 2-0. It was to be the end of an era for Irish football as it proved to be Jack Charlton's last game in charge.

1/9/2001: Ireland 1-0 The Netherlands 

365 days after Ireland gave up a 2-0 lead in Amsterdam to draw 2-2, the teams met in Dublin in their second group game on the way towards qualification for the 2002 World Cup.

The 1-0 result and Jason McAteer's goal remains one of Ireland's most famous sports moments in the 21st century. Less than 18 months previously, the Dutch were a penalty shoot-out away from reaching the Euro 2000 Final, but the loss in Dublin, all but eliminated the team from qualifying for the World Cup. In 1998, the team finished in fourth, after losing their semi-final to Brazil.

Louis van Gaal's side were the highest-ranked European team not to qualify for the tournament. The manager would gain redemption with his national side over a decade later as the Dutch finished third at the 2014 World Cup. 

16/8/2006: Ireland 0-4 The Netherlands

The friendly defeat in Lansdowne Road was to be a flavour of what was to come under Steve Staunton. The game was Staunton's third in charge of Ireland as the team continued preparations towards qualifying for Euro 2008.

The loss was Ireland's worst at home in 40 years as the Dutch, fresh off a World Cup second round exit ran riot in Dublin. Two goals from debutant Klaas-Jan Huntelaar either side of the break, along with goals from Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie made it a night to forget for Staunton and his team.

That game in Dublin was the last time the two teams have met. As Ireland continue preparations for Euro 2016, the Dutch are in a rebuilding phase after failing to reach the tournament in France this summer.

It is difficult to see a repeat of that 4-0 result happening tonight in Dublin, but Paul Kimmage and Stephen Hunt will be in the Three Dugout on Off The Ball for live buildup and analysis as Ireland prepare for the Euros with a testing fixture.  

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