Holland 1978
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Holland 1974.
Group 4, Sunday 11th June 1978 (16.45):
Dutch flag Holland 2 Scotland 3 Scottish flag
Scorers -
Rensenbrink (pen) Dalglish Gemmill (pen) Gemmill Rep
34 mins 44 mins 47 mins 68 mins 72 mins

Teams -
  8 Jongbloed  
20 Suurbier   17 Rijsbergen   12 Krol   2 Poortvliet
  6 Jansen   13 Neeskens   11 W. Van de Kerkhof  
  10 R. Van de Kerkhof   16 Rep   12 Rensenbrink  

  9 Jordan   8 Dalglish  
10 Hartford   15 Gemmill   18 Souness   6 Rioch
3 Donachie   14 Forsyth   4 Buchan   13 Kennedy
  1 Rough  

Substitutes -
14 Boskamp for 13 Neeskens 10 mins
7 Wildschut for 17 Rijsbergen 44 mins
Unused Substitutes -
1 Schrijvers 4 Van Kraay 18 Nanninga    
(See note re Van Kraay / Brandts on Iran page)
12 Blyth 16 Macari 17 Johnstone 19 Robertson 22 Burns

Cautioned - Gemmill

Estadio Mendoza Referee - Erich Linemayr (Austria).
Linesmen - Palotai (Hungary), Seoudi (Tunisia).
Venue - Estadio Mendoza, Mendoza.
Attendance 40,000.

  In order to qualify for the last eight, Holland faced Scotland needing only to draw, or to avoid losing by three goals. Though the pressure appeared to be off, Happel, dissatisfied with the performance against Peru, axed Arie Haan, which at least meant a recall for Johnny Rep in an otherwise unchanged line-up. Quite why Holland needed to wear white shirts is another of those questions you'll just have to ask of FIFA - whereas surely one or other team could have helpfully changed their socks?
Line-up v Scotland

Line-up against Scotland.
Krol, Jongbloed, Rijsbergen, Suurbier, Jansen,
Rep, Poortvliet, René van de Kerkhof,
Willy van de Kerkhof, Rensenbrink, Neeskens.

  I remember many details of this game, as it was played on my birthday (let's see now, I think I must have been about 2 years old...), and the party was suspended while we watched the game on a borrowed portable television. Thanks, Howard, if you ever read this!

  Scotland had arrived at the World Cup burdened by the weight of expectation that had gone from naïve confidence, through misplaced optimism, to outright boasting of their chances of winning the tournament itself. The flame of this irrational self-belief had been ignited by the British media and ill-advisedly fuelled by the verbal outpourings of the bombastic manager Ally MacLeod.

  Their first two results had been an ignominious defeat at the hands of a decent but hardly brilliant Peru team and a draw against World Cup minnows Iran, and they were thus left with one chance to achieve a measure of respectability before they went home, but precious little prospect of making any actual progress. They had two very effective strikers, Joe Jordan and Kenny Dalglish, and a truly great midfield player, Graeme Souness - Dalglish and Souness had indeed been in the Liverpool team which defeated Happel's Brugge in the European Cup Final a few weeks before. Unfortunately, they also had as coach one of the biggest egos in world football, and MacLeod had irrationally omitted Souness from his starting line-up in the opening games, a mistake he belatedly rectified against Holland.

Group 4 Table (after 2 games).


P W D L F A Pts
Holland 2 1 1 0 3 0 3
Peru 2 1 1 0 3 1 3
Scotland 2 0 1 1 2 4 1
Iran 2 0 1 1 1 4 1

  The situation in Group 4 was actually a bit less complicated than it might have seemed. Holland could afford to lose this one; with a 5-goal advantage over Scotland, they only needed to avoid defeat by three goals or more in order to make progress. (Remember there were only two points for a win in those days.)

  Exactly the same situation pertained in the other group game as Iran needed to beat Peru by a similar margin to progress. Note that even if Iran had won by a sizeable score, they would have qualified at the South Americans' expense rather than Holland's. No matter what permutation of results transpired, either Holland or Scotland, and either Peru or Iran, would qualify.

  So as long as the Dutch kept their goal difference better than Scotland's a place in the last eight was theirs. But I bet they'd rather have won.

  It was always an open, entertaining match - probably the best of the competition thus far - but it started badly for Holland, with Johan Neeskens sustaining a rib injury challenging Gemmill for the ball, and needing to be replaced. The substitute, Johan Boskamp (to whom had fallen the questionable honour of wearing "Cruyff's" number 14 shirt), was a fine passer of the ball, but by no means as busy a midfielder as Neeskens, and he would not look back on this game as the highlight of his career.

John Boskamp, Holland's other no 14 of the 1970s - huge thanks to Joost de Wit for the photo

Rep is on hand as Forsyth disputes a header with (I think) Rensenbrink

  Against a side who clearly were bent on doing some damage before they went home, the Dutch lost much of their rhythm from here on. Scotland, organised by Graeme Souness in the midfield, made the most of their good fortune, and soon realised they had caught the Dutch on a less than inspired day, Kenny Dalglish having a goal disallowed as the alarm-bells started ringing in the Holland defence.

  After a challenge by Joe Jordan left Rijsbergen hobbling badly, it might have seemed the tide was running Scotland's way, but the alert Willy van de Kerkhof took the ball off the dithering Stuart Kennedy and fed Rep who set off at pace into the penalty area, to be inevitably brought down by Kennedy and goalkeeper Alan Rough. Scotland players claimed the tackle was a fair one, Gemmill earning the yellow card for prolonging his protests, but the referee was adamant, and Rensenbrink hit the one thousandth goal in World Cup history from the penalty spot.

  The Dutch, however, clearly had a problem with Rijsbergen, and their defence was creaking visibly. Happel, having already used one substitute (only two were allowed in those days, of course), and with several other players carrying injuries, wanted to hold out to half-time and take stock.

  But the Scots equalised just before the break, Souness's deep cross from the left was headed back across goal by Jordan - for once not offside, presumably due to the Dutch defence not trusting Rijsbergen to get out fast enough - and Dalglish just got to the ball in front of Jongbloed. Straightaway, Piet Wildschut came on for the injured defender, but the damage had been done.

Dalglish beats Jongbloed

Scots celebrations after Dalglish's goal

  Wildschut took up a berth on the left of the midfield, with Holland now playing three at the back again, but they were clearly going to struggle to get any sort of result.

  Scotland struck again when Dalglish headed down a cross towards Souness, and the midfielder crashed to earth amid a forest of outstretched Dutch legs, with Krol looking suspiciously culpable. Archie Gemmill put the Scots in front from the penalty spot, and 20 minutes later the same player, as every schoolboy knows, was responsible for putting his team in dreamland with one of the World Cup's most famous goals of all time.

Willy van de Kerkhof and Asa Hartford

  Intercepting the ball when Dalglish had been tackled, the irrepressible Gemmill took the ball past Jansen, then Krol (still on the deck having made the original tackle on Dalglish), and finally a despairing lunge by Poortvliet, before coolly lofting the ball over the advancing Jongbloed. The goal is replayed on British television just about every time Scotland play a match, and of course whenever the film "Trainspotting" is shown. Which is quite a lot.

Gemmill goes past Krol ...

... round Poortvliet ...

... then beats, er, Dalglish ...

... cuts into the box and shoots ...

... Jongbloed pretends he's dead ...

... and the rest is history

  But, great goal though it was, it was surely too little too late for Scotland.
Celebrations after Rep's goal

  All of two minutes elapsed before the Dutch struck back, as Rep exchanged passes with Krol in his own half and ran at the retreating Scots defence before unleashing a drive from immense range which found goalkeeper Rough strangely out of position.

  The first of a series of classic long-range Holland goals in this World Cup, Rep's effort effectively sealed qualification for the Dutch, and brave Scotland were forced to settle for their one day of glory.

Dalglish attacks Jansen and Poortvliet, while Rep offers some advice about where the ball should end up (thanks to Stefano for the photo)

  There was still time for a late challenge on Suurbier to reduce the Dutch full-back to passenger status for the rest of the game, and just about end his World Cup. Scotland were most unlikely to get the five goals they now needed, but went out tackling strongly, leaving more than one Dutchman battered and bruised for the second phase of the tournament. A bit of this aggression against Peru and Iran might have seen Scotland through to the next round, but now it just seemed like petulance.

  The Scots went home, to find they had earned a place in football folklore for what could never be called the right reasons, while Holland, with their pride perhaps wounded more than somewhat, found themselves in the last eight, though Peru's win against Iran gave them first place in the group.

Group 4 Table.


P W D L F A Pts
Peru 3 2 1 0 7 2 5
Holland 3 1 1 1 5 3 3
Scotland 3 1 1 1 5 6 3
Iran 3 0 1 2 2 8 1

Peru qualify for Second Phase, Group B; Holland for Group A.

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