The success story of the Netherlands
football association, KNVB, one of the founder members of FIFA, is something to be proud of. The Dutch have taken part in seven European Championships, winning the title once, in 1988. Equally famous are the epic battles against Germany and Argentina in the 1974 and 1978 World Cup finals, ending in defeats that still smart, but not without enriching European football history with thrilling new chapters. When professional football was introduced in 1954, it led to a split in the league. The Netherlands
consequently devised a unique qualifying system that served financial rather than sporting purposes. A club can only be relegated from the 1st division if it withdraws, for instance for financial reasons, to the amateur leagues. The Netherlands
have also played a pioneering role in other branches of football. Futsal has been played there since 1969 and a powerful women's football section has existed since 1971. Among the countless players who are too numerous to mention here, several of them with roots from the Caribbean region have done the Dutch overseas territories proud with their footballing careers.