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Netherlands ready to break drought

Canberra Times logo Canberra Times 17/06/2014 Fleta Page
a © Pilar Olivares/Reuters a

The Netherlands hold the unfortunate record for reaching the most World Cup finals without ever winning, but a lesser known fact is they have never beaten Australia in soccer.

At least one of those streaks is likely to come to an end at this World Cup, with the Netherlands the overwhelming favourites to beat the Socceroos when they meet at 2am on Thursday morning. And the local Dutch community is preparing.

The Canberra Dutch Club has put their fierce football rivalry with Germany behind them and take over the downstairs bar of the Harmonie German Club in Narrabundah.

They will turn their makeshift “Holland House” orange, serving Heineken beer, and Dutch snacks of croquettes and frikandellen for any fans – including Australians – who want to join them to watch the 2am match on a big screen.

The disappointment of three losing world cup finals – 1974, 1978, and 2010 – seems to be fresh in the mind of Dutch Club secretary John Hengst, who wasn’t getting ahead of himself.

“It’s worthwhile noting Holland has never beaten Australia; Australia has [beaten Holland],” he said.

He also noted it was Canberra’s Ned Zelic who scored two goals in 1992 to earn a 2-2 draw against the Dutch and qualify Australia for the Barcelona Olympic Games.

But with the Netherlands thrashing Spain 5-1 in their opening match of this World Cup – a replay of the 2010 final – there is hope in the orange camp.

“Having watched the game [against Spain] on Saturday morning, and seeing what they did – it’s the first time they played as a team. The Dutch have got tremendous individual players, but like Dutch anywhere … they all have little groups and don’t work together,” Mr Hengst said.

“This time it looks like they’ve got a team and they’re all working together.”

Hengst thinks 2014 could be the year they break their World Cup final hoodoo.

“With all the luck under the sun, [Hans Stoehr, the President of the German Club] and I should be here at the end watching those two fight it out; Germany and Holland.”

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