Futsal in the country of tulips: bright colors on the grey background

We continue to introduce you to the sports development in the countries whose clubs could soon get an international practice in the Baltic Futsal League. Today this is Holland.

Let’s begin our story with the fact that the Netherlands had a real impact on the development of European and world futsal, being  the first to hold its national championship in 1968 and also hosting the first World Cup in 1989. The second place in this championship was the main achievement of the Dutch national team in its history. After all the final was lost to the Brazilians who didn’t care what, against whom and on what surface to play ball with their feet. And at the European championships the Dutch national team showed the best result in 1999, taking fourth place. In general the late 90’s  may be considered the period of the brightest heyday of Dutch futsal. And if the clubs in the European arena didn’t show themselves in any special way then the national team regularly “pinched” favorites at various tournaments. In the above- mentioned 1999 during European Championship in Spanish Granada the Dutch reached the semi-final  in which they scored six (!) goals against the Russian national team (which became the champion). Truly they missed 9 goals, but even the Spaniards at home couldn’t withstand this “machine” headed by Eremenko. The leaders of that orange team were Edwin Grunholz, Patrick Langenhusen and goalkeeper Karl Wenzel.  By the way, we can talk about Grunholz for hours: in those years there was no other football- player in Europe with such a technical arsenal, court vision and sense of futsal rhythm. We have told you already about  the “beer” tournaments in Belgium, where the organizes from the Ford corporation invited up to a hundred teams from different countries. Exactly there Grunholz worked miracles, gathering crowds of fans of his skills around the site . Unfortunately, the bright Dutch individualities finished their career and the national team went down. Since the beginning of a new century there was no single pass to the final quartets of the World and European Championships. This is largely due to the fact that as in Belgium, the Dutch clubs were filled with young emigrants, for whom futsal was not a professional kind of sport, but a way to express their technical equipment for further promotion of their own career in big football. But that is quite another story.

As for our days, the Dutch champion of the last season was the club Hovocubo from Horn located in the north of the country. In the final play-off series to two victories Hovocubo was twice stronger than De Hommel. In the first match Hovocubo won 2:1, and in the second game after a draw 6:6 in regular time everything was decided in a penalty shootout.  It’s curious that Hovocubo won the Dutch Championship 33 years later, and in general this club was founded in 1966 as a volleyball one and only later it began to develop futsal, winning the national championships in 1972 and 1976. 

To the credit of the Dutch, whose current championship was stopped on October,10 because of the coronavirus epidemic, Hovocubo passed in the 1/16 Champions League season 2020/21. In the preliminary round, in Norwegian Trondheim the Dutch champion dealt with local Utleira very severely 11:0. However the next round is likely to be the last for Hobocubo, because the draw chose one of the strongest European teams – Spanish Inter as an opponent for the Dutch.