Since 1905, the Netherlands national football team (Dutch: Het Nederlands Elftal) has represented the country in international men’s football matches. The men’s national team is managed by the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB), the Netherlands’ regulatory body for football, which is a member of UEFA and is governed by FIFA. They are largely recognized as one of the best national teams in the world, as well as one of the greatest national teams of all time.  The Johan Cruyff Arena, De Kuip, Philips Stadion, and De Grolsch Veste host the majority of the Netherlands’ home matches.
The squad is colloquially known as Het Nederlands Elftal or Oranje, after the House of Orange-Nassau and their unique orange uniforms. Informally, the squad, like the country, was dubbed Holland. Het Oranje Legioen is the name of the fan club (The Orange Legion). 
The Netherlands has taken part in eleven FIFA World Cups, reaching the final three times (in 1974, 1978 and 2010). They also competed in twelve UEFA European Championships, winning the event in West Germany in 1988. The squad also won bronze medals at the Olympic football event in 1908, 1912, and 1920. The Netherlands has traditionally had football rivalry with Belgium and Germany.
On 30 April 1905, the Netherlands played their first international match against Belgium at Antwerp, with the players chosen by a five-member panel from the Dutch Football Association. The result was 1-1 after 90 minutes. The game proceeded into extra time because it was for the Coupe van den Abeele, and Eddy de Neve scored three times, making the score 4-1 for the Netherlands.  Willem Hesselink is credited with one of the aims, according to some historians. 
The Netherlands had their first official tournament debut at the Summer Olympics in London in 1908. They were awarded a bronze medal after losing to the United Kingdom in the semi-finals before defeating Sweden 2-0 in the bronze medal match.  The Netherlands finished third in the Olympic Games in 1912 and 1920, losing to Denmark and Belgium in their respective tournaments.  
After defeating Romania and Ireland, the Netherlands advanced to the semi-finals of the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. In the semi-finals, they surrendered a one-goal lead, which was scored by Kees Pijl, to lose 2-1 to Uruguay and were relegated to the third-place playoff for the fourth time, losing to Sweden in a replay. 
They boycotted the inaugural World Cup in 1930 because to the high cost of travel from Europe to South America after being ousted in the first round of the 1928 Summer Olympics on home soil.  In 1934, the squad faced Switzerland in their first FIFA World Cup participation. Kick Smit was the Netherlands’ first World Cup goal scorer. Switzerland defeated the squad 3-2 in the first round.  A return to the 1938 World Cup culminated in a first-round exit against Czechoslovakia. 
Before the 1970s, the Netherlands had only qualified for two international tournaments after WWII: the 1948 Summer Olympics in Great Britain and the 1952 Summer Olympics in Finland. They were eliminated early, losing to the hosts in 1948 and Brazil in 1952. 
Total football and the first golden generation in the 1970s
Total football (Dutch: Totaalvoetbal) was created in the 1970s, spearheaded by Ajax and led by playmaker Johan Cruyff and national team head coach Rinus Michels. The Netherlands made considerable progress throughout the decade, qualifying for two World Cup finals. Carlos Alberto, captain of Brazil’s 1970 FIFA World Cup-winning squad, stated, “The only team that handled things differently in my experience was Holland at the 1974 World Cup in West Germany. Since then, everything has seemed the same to me… Their ‘carousel’ style of play was incredible to watch and fantastic for the game.” 
The Netherlands defeated both Brazil and Argentina in the second group stage in 1974, advancing to the finals for the first time in their history. However, they were defeated by West Germany in the finals in Munich, despite leading 1-0 because to Johan Neeskens’ early penalty strike before a German touched the ball. However, a converted penalty by Paul Breitner and the winner from Gerd Müller gave the German the victory. 
The Netherlands participated in their first European Championship in 1976. Czechoslovakia kept Cruyff and Van Hanegem at bay, defeating the Netherlands in extra time.  After overcoming the hosts (Yugoslavia) in extra time, the Netherlands placed third. 
The Netherlands qualified for the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. The squad was without Johan Cruyff and Willem van Hanegem owing to an abduction attempt. However, players from the last World Cup returned to the side, including Jan Jongbloed, Wim Suurbier, and Ruud Krol.  After placing second in Group 4 behind Peru, they defeated Austria and Italy to go to the finals against Argentina. After a contentious start in which Argentina questioned the plaster cast on René van de Kerkhof’s wrist, the match went to extra time, when the Netherlands were defeated 3-1 by Mario Kempes and Daniel Bertoni.