LAFTBT: Koeman’s free-kick in Oranje…


There’s a sense of optimism around Dutch football again, as one of the icons on the national team has taken the reigns as manager.¬†

Ronald Koeman, fresh from a short break out of the game after parting ways with Everton this season, is the new Netherlands manager – making it a perfect time to look back on an Oranje classic.

The year is 1993 and Netherlands have welcomed a struggling England side to a great atmosphere in Rotterdam, where whoever wins will be almost guaranteed qualification to the 1994 World Cup. Lose, though, and making it to USA in the summer becomes a much more unlikely feat.

So, after a cagey game in which Frank Rijkaard’s legal goal was chalked off for offside and Ronald Koeman was lucky to avoid a sending off, the latter’s moment of genius was incredibly welcome. A free-kick on the edge of the box was a chance – albeit a nervy one – especially as at it was to be retaken after encroachment from Paul Ince.

A bluff on the power drive he had just smashed into the England wall, the new Dutch coach chips the ball over the defenders and into the top corner, leaving David Seaman flapping. A Bergkamp goal later and it would be the Oranje on the way to the World Cup in USA, indirectly at the expense of their England counterparts.

Koeman’s stunning goal was just one stand-out moment of a glittering career for both club and country, and many in the Netherlands will hope that under his guidance, the Dutch side will conjure up some of their own classic moments.