2. The Dutch are nicknamed the Oranje, which really shouldn’t come as a surprise.
The House of Orange-Nassau is the royal house of the Netherlands, so it kind of makes sense. They also go by Flying Dutchman and Clockwork Orange, as if you needed even more reasons to root for them.
3. “Hup, Holland, Hup” is a Dutch football cheer. You should probably learn to sing along.
4. When it comes to rivalries on the pitch, it’s safe to say the Dutch aren’t big fans of the German national team.
5. Historically, the Oranje have played a style known as Total Football, or Totaalvoetbal.
In this fluid tactical system, any player can take the position of another. Only the goalkeeper maintains a fixed position.
6. The Dutch hold the record for reaching the most World Cup finals without ever winning, at three, in 1974, 1978, and 2010. Sad face.
7. So yes, the Dutch did pretty well last time around, reaching the final match. Unfortunately, they came up short in the title game, losing to Spain 1-0… In extra time, nonetheless.
Also, things got pretty nasty in the game.
8. Then, in the 2012 European Championship, the Dutch absolutely stunk it up in the Group of Death, failing to win a match in group play.
It’s safe to say the Dutch want to erase that from their memories with a strong showing in Brazil. But how does the 2014 squad match up?
9. This is Louis van Gaal, the Dutch manager.
He coached the national team before and was in charge of the 2002 squad that failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986. Van Gaal is set to step down at the end of this tournament and take over at Manchester United. He favors an attacking style, and was educated in Total Football.
10. The Dutch are in Group B, along with Chile, Spain, and Australia.
Expect Chile and Spain to pose a challenge to the Netherlands.
11. Watch out for winger Arjen Robben…
12. …And also striker Roben van Persie.
They’re both 30 and are experienced, old-guard members of the team.