From the desk of... L'Equipe
Translation: Bertrand Chardon
June 14, 2004
Germany vs The Netherlands is a war. The most angst- and passion-filled fixture in Europe, possibly. A quick historic overview of the official games the two nations played against each other, just before the big Euro 2004 game in Porto...
Holland vs Germany: Rendezvous of Hate
World Cup final, Munich, West-Germany.
West-Germany vs Netherlands 2-1 (2-1)
1' 1-0 Johan Neeskens (penalty), 26' 1-1 Paul Breitner (penalty), 44' 2-1 Gerd Müller.
The game that can be regarded as the mother of all the bitterness. For the first time since the end of World War Two the two nations face each other on the pitch in an official game. And not just a game, but a World Cup final. The seemingly invincible Dutch display their arrogance. Johan Cruyff is the king of the tournament. The German have not even touched the ball yet in the first minute as he wins a penalty kick, powerfully hammered home by Neeskens. Germany's enigmatic captain, Franz Beckenbauer, tells the referee, Mr Taylor: "No doubt you're an Englishman…"
The Dutch fail to decide the match early and the Germans logically level the score on a doubtful penalty kick, won by a diving Hölzenbein. Paul Breitner drives the ball past goalkeeper Jan Jongbloed. Just before half time Gerd Müller scores one of his typical goals from close range, in a 180 degree turn. The Dutch are paralyzed in the second half. The trauma is beyond description. The best team in the world has been defeated.
1974: Berti Vogts brings Johan Cruijff down in the first minute.
Johan Neeskens would hammer home from the spot to make it 1-0.
After that it all went wrong... A trauma was born.
Johnny Rep (Holland striker): "A perfect example of Dutch arrogance. We were so focused on humiliating the Germans… you should never think you can do that to them."
Wim van Hanegem (Holland midfielder): " I didn't give a damn about the score. 1-0 was enough, as long as we could humiliate them. I don't like them. It's because of World War Two. They murdered 80% of my family. My father, my sister, two of my brothers. Each time I faced Germany I was angst-filled."
Bernd Hölzenbein (Germany striker): " If an English referee gives us a penalty you can be sure it must have been a correct call… Before the match we decided to look them in the eyes in the corridor to the pitch, to show them we weren't afraid… Staring at them I saw this feeling of invincibility they were filled with. They seemed to be telling us: 'So lads, how many goals do you want us to score?' I tried to look them in the eyes, but I couldn't. They made us feel so small."
World Cup, first round, Cordoba, Argentina
West-Germany vs The Netherlands 2-2 (1-1)
3' 1-0 Rudi Abramczik, 27' 1-1 Arie Haan, 70' 2-1 Dieter Müller, 84' 2-2 René van de Kerkhof (84').
In spite of the '1974 rancour' the match remains rather calm and clean. The Germans take the lead twice, but the Dutch equalize twice and grab the draw, which at that point was a better result for Holland than it was for the Germans. Holland was, eventually, beaten once again in the final by the tournament host, this time Argentina.
1978: Holland defender Ruud Krol tackles
Germany's Dieter Müller in Cordoba, Argentina.
Karl-Heinz Rummennige (Germany striker): "The pressure was tremendous. The popular press was blowing up the old rivalry. We knew that on the pitch the Dutch were ready and waiting for us. We had to stay focused. I think it's a true shame and pity that they regard football as an outlet for their the hatred from the Second World War."
European Championship, first round, Napoli, Italy
West-Germany vs The Netherlands 3-2 (1-0)
20' 1-0 Klaus Allofs, 60' 2-0 Klaus Allofs, 66' 3-0 Klaus Allofs, 80' 3-1 Willy van de Kerkhof, 86' 3-2 Willy van de Kerkhof.
There hardly is a match this time: Klaus Allofs knocks Holland out on his own. In spite of two late goals the Dutch players of coach Ernst Happel have to bow to the Germans. This match is marked by sad events: a punch-up between Toni Schumacher and Huub Stevens and René van de Kerkhof punching Bernd Schuster in the eye.
Horst Hrubesch (Germany striker): "My direct opponent never stopped kicking and spitting at me. He even called me a##hole!"
Karl-Heinz Förster (Germany midfielder): "Van de Kerkhof called me a 'pig'. Before the game we knew that it was going to be tense. We had sworn to win, because that victory was so important to our sense of pride. To them, beating is the best thing there is. They hate us much more than we hate them."
European Championship, semi final, Hamburg, West-Germany
West-Germany vs The Netherlands 1-2 (0-0)
55' 1-0 Lothar Matthäus (penalty), 74' 1-1 Ronald Koeman (penalty), 89' 1-2 Marco Van Basten.
The game is extremely tense. Each team is given a penalty kick strongly disputed by the opposition (until today, in fact). The game gets nasty in the second half, as Lothar Matthäus (the most hated German in Holland) converts from the spot to give the hosts an undeserved lead. Holland's triumph comes to stand in the 89th minute, as Van Basten slides the second Dutch goal against the nets. Germany is eliminated at home. The eruption of ecstacy in The Netherlands is historic: an estimated 70% of the population hits the streets the celebrate in the largest spontaneous party since the liberation by the Allies in 1945. The victory is tainted by the behaviour of Ronald Koeman at the end of the match: just after having swapped his jersey with Olaf Thon he pretends to wipe his behind with it in front of 60,000 German supporters and the TV cameras. Nobody ever forgot that picture in Germany.
The most unforgettable moment in the life of almost every Dutch football supporter.
Hamburg, 21 June 1988, 89th minute: Marco van Basten beats defender
Jürgen Kohler and goalkeeper Eike Immel.
Ronald Koeman: "1988 didn't erase 1974 from our memories. The bitterness is still there. Before the match Rinus Michels, who also coached the 1974 squad, told us about that lost final, in order to motivate us. I regret what I did after the match. It was an impulsive reaction, the kind of stupid reaction that follows you for the rest of your life. But for me that case is closed. As I never met Thon again after that, I never had the occasion to apologize."
Olaf Thon (Germany midfielder): "I woudn't say that there was hatred, but tension between both teams. I haven't forgotten the Koeman incident, when he provoked our supporters. I didn't have a problem with him. I think he regrets it now. So to me it's case closed. That kind of incident can happen when you're overwhelmed by your emotions, like when the Dutch beat us. I've forgiven Koeman, even though he never apologized officially."
Hans van Breukelen (Holland goalkeeper): "I had been waiting for that moment for fourteen years. Before the game I remembered my feelings watching TV as a teenager, and that boosted up my anger. I am happy to have been able to give this gift to the older generation, the ones that lived through the War."
Arnold Mühren (Holland midfielder): "We humiliated them in front of their own supporters. Being able to do that at my age, 37 at the time... that's just priceless."
Ruud Gullit (Holland forward): "We gave joy to the older generation. I saw their emotions, their tears. I could never even have guessed that this could be so tremendously important to them."
26 June 1988: A Dutch supporters' banner welcomes German tourists at the border:
"You are now driving into the country of the European champion."
World Cup qualifier, Munich, West-Germany
West-Germany vs The Netherlands 0-0
An amazingly quiet meeting on and off the pitch. Boring game. The first ever 0-0 draw between the two nations.
World Cup qualifier, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
The Netherlands vs West-Germany 1-1 (0-0)
68' 0-1 Karl-Heinz Riedle, 87' 1-1 Marco van Basten (penalty)
The center of Rotterdam is a real battlefield before the game. Around the main train station, later around De Kuip stadiums, hooligans from both sides fight relentlessly for hours. Injuries, people in jail, tension, bitter hatred; all the bad ingredients are there. This is one of the darkest nights in modern hooliganism. The hatred has now turned into open xenophobia, the hunt for Germans is opened in the streets of Rotterdam. Thanks to Marco van Basten's lucky (and late) equalizer things remain rather quiet after the game. There are no incidents on the pitch.
World Cup, second round, Milan, Italy
West-Germany vs The Netherlands 2-1 (0-0)
51' 1-0 Jürgen Klinsmann, 85' 2-0 Andreas Brehme, 89' 2-1 Ronald Koeman (penalty)
Red Cards: Rudi Völler (West-Germany) and Frank Rijkaard (The Netherlands)
The ugliest and most eventful game in the two nations' shared football history. Before kick-off the Dutch supporters shout down the German anthem with boos and "Hup Holland Hup!" yells. The Germans reply by chanting "Deutschland! Deutschland!" during the Dutch anthem. The game is historically nasty. In the first minutes of the match Adri van Tiggelen badly hurts Pierre Littbarski. The tone's been set. Just before half time Völler dives to the grass after contact with a seemingly innocent Frank Rijkaard, who is booked for it. An angry Rijkaard is angry and spits in Völler's hair. The German shows it to the referee, to which Rijkaard reacts by pulling the German's hair. This time Völler gets a yellow card.
The subsequent free kick doesn't yield anything, but Völler is seen provoking goalkeeper Hans van Breukelen. Rijkaard intervenes once again, pulls Völler's ear and spits again, this time hitting the striker in the neck. After a near punch-up between the two, both are sent off. On his way to the dressing room Rijkaard runs past Völler - and spits again. In the catacombs the Dutchman reportedly grabbed the German by the throat. According to media reports a brief fistfight followed. Germany, meanwhile, ends up winning the game, which can be regarded as the climax of the hatred between the two countries. Völler was suspended for one game, Rijkaard for three.
Frank Rijkaard (Holland defender): "That day I was wrong. There was no insult. I always had much respect for Rudi Völler. But I went berserk when I saw that red card. I talked to him after the match and I apologized. I'm very happy that he accepted. I have no bad feeling about him now. We even posed for a very funny advert together, years after."
Rudi Völler (Germany striker): "Everybody was well aware that one of the teams was going home after that game. And regarding our old rivalry that just couldn't be accepted. I sensed that the atmosphere was very tense. Fortunately I never hear about that incident anymore. Now I'm friends with Frank, even though it took some time… We played each other in the Italian league and we didn't have any problem. We actually were rather friendly opponents. W e talked about the incident later. Frank told me he had big problems at the time, he was in the middle of a divorce, he wasn't the real Frank Rijkaard. Today I can say that he is a great person. I agreed to do that Dutch advert, if only to bury the hatchet."
European Championship, first round, Göteborg, Sweden
The Netherlands vs Germany 3-1 (2-0)
4' 1-0 Frank Rijkaard, 15' 2-0 Rob Witschge, 54' 2-1 Jürgen Klinsmann, 72' 3-1 Dennis Bergkamp.
The re-united Germany is outclassed by the Dutch. The difference in quality between the two is obvious and there are no incidents during the game. The relationship between the two countries is getting better. But games between club teams from the two countries remain tense and, frequently, violent events.
1992: Rob Witschge fires a free kick against the netting
in Göteborg, Sweden. Fifteen minutes have been played and it's
2-0 to Holland. Was it ever as easy against the Germans?
Source: L'Équipe / Translated for Ajax USA by Bertrand Chardon