Three incidents that highlight the fierce rivalry between Germany and Netherlands

Rijkaard Voller

Germany and the Netherlands have been fierce rivals on a football field ever since Germany’s occupation of the Netherlands during the Second World War. On the eve of their UEFA Nations League encounter in Amsterdam, we take a look at three incidents that have shaped up their rivalry over the years.

3. 1974 World Cup Final

The Dutch started the match as hot favourites to take the World Cup Trophy back to Amsterdam. They were on course as well when Johan Neeskens’ goal saw them go up in the second minute itself. However, as things turned out, Paul Breitner and Gerd Muller scored for West Germany and inflicted a painful defeat on the Netherlands.

‘De moeder aller nederlagen’ (the mother of all defeats) was what the Dutch chose to call it. The loss was so traumatic for the Netherland players that midfielder Willem van Hanegem stated that they should have shut shop after going one up – ‘1-0 was enough, as long as we could humiliate them’.

“I didn’t give a damn about the score, 1-0 was enough, as long as we could humiliate them. I hate them. They murdered my family. My father, my brother and several family members. Each time I faced Germany, I was angst-filled.”


2. 1980 UEFA Euro 1980 Group Stage

The two rivals met again on a big stage six years after West Germany were crowned World champions. The Euro 1980 group stage match was probably one of the most ill-tempered and exciting encounters between the two sides.

Klaus Allofs scored a hat-trick for West Germany in Naples which saw them race to a 3-0 lead. The Dutch then fought back with two goals in the 79th and 85th minutes but couldn’t complete the comeback.

The match, though, would be remembered for two on-field scuffles. Netherlands’ Huub Stevens punched German goalkeeper Toni Schumacher in the abdomen and a substitute had to stand in way of the shot-stopper to calm him down. The second incident saw Dutchman Rene van de Kerkhof punch Bernd Schuster ‘in the eye’!

West Germany went on to win the tournament.


3. 1990 World Cup Round of 16

Two years after the Netherlands famously knocked Germany out from the semifinal of Euro 1988 and then went on to win the tournament on German soil, the duo faced-off in the Round of 16 of 1990 World Cup.

All hell broke loose when Frank Rijkaard was shown the yellow card for a foul on Germany’s Rudi Voller. This was the Dutchman’s second booking in the tournament, meaning he’d have had to miss the quarterfinal had the Netherlands qualified.

In a moment of madness, Rijkaard spat on Voller and a verbal spat ensued. Referee Juan Carlos Loustau didn’t take note of the ‘spit’ and instead booked Voller. Moments later, as the German fell down in the box, Rijkaard appeared to lift him up by his ear and then subsequently stamped on his foot.

Both Rijkaard and Voller were sent off and as the two were walking towards the dressing room, the former spat on the German again. As it turned out, West Germany won the match 2-1 and went on to win their third World Cup.

This was unarguably the most intense match of the rivalry.