Tim Brown:

Soccer-Netherlands World Cup draw factbox


Nov 27 (Reuters) - Factbox on World Cup qualifiers


Form and prospects

The Dutch were the first European country to book their

place in Brazil, ending the year unbeaten in 13 games, but are

still far from the quality product that came so close to World

Cup success in 2010.

The likes of Nigel de Jong, Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie,

Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart are still regulars

after leading roles in helping the Dutch to reach the 2010


However, coach Louis van Gaal has overhauled the team in the

wake of a disappointing Euro 2012 tournament in Poland and

Ukraine, where the highly fancied Dutch lost all three of their

group games.

Van Gaal lost his first game back in charge but has gone 17

matches without defeat since a 4-2 friendly loss to Belgium.

They eased competently through their qualifying group as

they won nine of their 10 matches, scoring 34 goals and

conceding just five.

Top place was secured away in the restricted confines of the

tiny stadium in Andorra with two matches still to play.

The Dutch campaign included an 8-1 home thumping of Hungary

and impressive away victories in Bucharest and Istanbul but

recent friendlies have shown up some weaknesses although Van

Gaal has not been scared to give teenage talent like Memphis

Depay a run in the team.

Coach: Louis van Gaal.

Van Gaal, 62, began his second spell as coach of the Dutch

national team, replacing Bert van Marwijk, after the last

European Championship and will retire after the tournament in


He had failed to take the Netherlands to the 2002 finals in

Asia but made sure of redemption by steering the squad through a

near flawless campaign.

A strict disciplinarian, Van Gaal made his name at Ajax

Amsterdam where he won the Champions League in 1995 before

winning two Spanish titles with Barcelona.

He also won the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich in 2010 but was

fired before the end of the next season

Key player: Robin van Persie

The Manchester United striker captains the national side and

during the qualifying campaign broke the record for the most

goals by a Dutch international, overtaking Patrick Kluivert to

reach 41 goals in 79 appearances.

The 30-year-old scored 11 goals in the 2014 qualifying

campaign including a last gasp goal in Estonia, which kept up an

unbeaten record for the Dutch.

Van Persie broke through at Feyenoord but only won his first

cap after joining Arsenal.

His move from the London club to Manchester United was a

contentious affair last season, on top of a 22.5-million pound

fee, but he won league honours in his first campaign.

How they qualified: Winners European Group D


Sept 7 Turkey H W 2-0 Van Persie, Narsingh

Sept 11 Hungary A W 4-1 Lens 2, Indi Martins,


Oct 12 Andorra H W 3-0 Van der Vaart Huntelaar,


Oct 16 Romania A W 4-1 Lens, Indi Martins,

Van der Vaart pen

Van Persie,


March 22 Estonia H W 3-0 Van der Vaart, Van Persie,


March 26 Romania H W 4-0 Van der Vaart, Van Persie 2

(1 pen), Lens

Sept 6 Estonia A D 2-2 Robben, Van Persie

Sept 10 Andorra A W 2-0 Van Persie 2

Oct 11 Hungary H W 8-1 Van Persie 3, Strootman,

Lens, Devecseri og,

Van der Vaart, Robben

Oct 15 Turkey A W 2-0 Robben, Sneijder

World Cup record:

Previous appearances: 9 (1934, 1938, 1974, 1978, 1990,

1994, 1998, 2006, 2010)

Best performances: Runners up 1974, 1978, 2010.

Odds: William Hill odds to win World Cup (Nov 2013): 16-1

(Compiled by Mark Gleeson, edited by Mike Collett)

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