internationals21 November 2022

WORLD CUP ROSSONERI: RUUD GULLIT

On the day of Senegal v Netherlands, let's take look back at an unforgettable memory of him

Stadio La Favorita, Palermo, Italia '90. At the start of the evening, 21 June, Ireland and The Netherlands went head to head on the final matchday of Group F, which was incredibly tight going into the game. The "island group" - given that as well as the Sicilian capital, matches were played in Cagliari - had seen just one draw. Egypt, England, Ireland and the Netherlands were level in every possible factor.

Games played, points, goals scored and goals conceded. The situation ahead of the match was unbelievable, in a group with some top sides. The most exciting prospect for locals in Sicily was the arrival of reigning European champions the Netherlands for two of their three games - England played all three of their fixtures at the Sant'Elia in the Sardinian capital. The Oranje also, to our delight, had a strong AC Milan contingent.

Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Marco van Basten. The three Rossoneri were the spine of Beenhakker's side and the trio had had a brilliant couple of years. After beating the USSR in the final in Munich in 1988 - the Netherlands' only title to date, they won further trophies with AC Milan: two Champions Leagues, one European Supercup, one Intercontinental Cup and one Supercoppa Italiana.

Win after win at club level had increased the ambitions of a Netherlands team hungry to return to the style and swagger of the 1970s, when they reached two consecutive finals. However, success in the world's biggest tournament had eluded the Oranje.

The European champions drew 1-1 on matchday 1 to a tenacious Egypt side, who equalised from the spot through Abdelghani to cancel out the opener from PSV defender (and ex-Pisa and Torino) Kieft. Four days later, their second match, against England, ended goalless in Cagliari. In order to go through to the knockouts, at the very least as one of the top-ranked third-placed teams, they needed points against Jack Charlton's Ireland. After 180 minutes, in which the Rossoneri's representatives for the Netherlands hadn't exactly shone, the game got off to a flying start. It was Ruud Gullit himself who opened the scoring after ten minutes played.

The Dutch captain received the ball from Koeman around 30 metres away from goal. He played a neat one-two with Kieft to get in behind the Irish defence and then beat an onrushing Bonner with a low, driven short. The lead lasted into the second half when Niall Quinn equalised to make it 1-1, and that's how it ended. The two sides then had to draw lots to decide who would finish second and third, and Irish luck won out. The draw was not kind to the Dutch as they went through to face the finalists of the 1986 World Cup, West Germany. It was almost a mini derby at San Siro as Die Mannschaft's Nerazzurri in Brehme, Klinsmann and Matthäus took on our three Dutchmen. The Germans won 2-1 and then went on to be crowned World Champions after winning the final in Rome.


Match KITs, clothing, accessories, gift ideas and much more: visit AC Milan online Store!

Share on:

Latest news

Our partners