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Top 10 World Cup memories: No. 10 - Netherlands 2 Ivory Coast 1

Robin Van Persie scored Netherlands' opener from a free kick.
Robin van Persie scored Netherlands' opener from a free-kick.

In this special 10-part series, ESPN's Jayaditya Gupta, who has attended every World Cup since 2002, recalls his favourite matches from the tournament. First up, it's Netherlands vs. Ivory Coast from 2006, when two attacking teams produced some scintillating football in Stuttgart.

The context

A Group C match, with Ivory Coast needing points having lost their opening match of the tournament. Netherlands came in with three points on the board.

The match

Earlier in the day, in Gelsenkirchen, Argentina...

 By Chris Wright

Virgil van Dijk, Netherlands teammates face darts star Michael van Gerwen

With a couple of friendlies coming up, Netherlands invited a special guest along to their training camp on Monday to help the players keep their eye in.

Ronald Koeman welcomed darts champion Michael van Gerwen to the centre in Vlijmen and it wasn't long before Virgil van Dijk and Kevin Strootman were grabbing photos with the 29-year-old.

According to Omroep Brabant, Wout Weghorst showed the most dart prowess on the day, with the AZ striker managing to win one leg against Van Gerwen.

"It was fun...


After World Cup failure, what now for Italy, U.S., Chile and Netherlands?

Brad Guzan joins Taylor Twellman in the ESPN FC Heineken Boot Room bus to talk all angles of the USMNT's World Cup qualifying debacle.
With 100 days to go until the FIFA World Cup, Ian Darke joins a group of ESPN writers and experts for a roundtable discussion about what to expect in Russia this summer.

Several powerhouses won't be present when the World Cup begins. How are Italy, the U.S., Chile and Netherlands dealing with their failure to qualify and what happens next?

What is the biggest issue facing the national team?


The choice of manager to replace Giampiero Ventura. Unable to elect a new president, the FIGC is under the emergency supervision of CONI, Italy's Olympic Committee. Alessandro Costacurta has the job of picking the new coach -- and setting the agenda of reform --...

England beat Netherlands but usual flaws in attack, defence remain

Jesse Lingard's goal helped paper over England's flaws as they beat the Dutch.

AMSTERDAM -- Three points on England's uninspiring 1-0 win over the Netherlands in Friday's international friendly.

1. Lingard wins the game but fails to mask England's bluntness

Jesse Lingard's first England goal secured a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands in Amsterdam, but the Manchester United midfielder's strike could not mask the worrying attacking issues facing Gareth Southgate ahead of the World Cup.

Having been held to goalless draws by Germany and Brazil in their past two outings, England...


Robin van Persie hits 300 career goals; four of his best strikes

Robin van Persie celebrates after scoring his 300th career goal during a KNVB Cup game for Feyenoord.
Robin van Persie returned to Feyenoord in January 2018.

Robin van Persie scored his 300th career goal on Wednesday as Feyenoord beat Willem II to reach the final of the KNVB Cup.

The former Arsenal and Manchester United striker is back at his hometown club following a career that has seen him win the Premier League, FA Cup, UEFA Cup and reach a World Cup with Netherlands.

Van Persie is also Netherlands' all-time top scorer and twice won the Premier League golden boot.

His career tally breaks down as follows:

Feyenoord - 24

Arsenal - 132

Manchester United...

 By Simon Kuper

Dutch stagnation is due to lack of new ideas, new managers at the top

You look at the Dutch team that achieved a pointless 2-0 victory over Sweden on Tuesday, while waving goodbye to qualification for next year's World Cup, and your first thought is: it's the B-team.

That would explain some of the underwhelming names on the team sheet: Lyon's Kenny Tete, Hertha Berlin's Karim Rekik and eternal journeyman Ryan Babel, who was once described by Gary Neville as always fighting with his own feet. But no: also in the team was Arjen Robben, the best Dutch player of this...