Italy-Netherlands matches 1920-2023

Official Matches


Few footballing philosophies are as diametrically opposed as the Italian and the Dutch. At least in the perception of most outsiders, Italian football only concentrates on the result of the match – winning is all that counts, never mind how. The first Italian word to make it into the global football vocabulary was catenaccio. (Much later, ultra became the second.) On the other hand, Dutch football has a reputation for flair, for being attack-minded and catering to the public, as documented by a number of memorable World Cup outings (1974 and 1998 in particular) and European Championship appearances (1988 and 1992 above all). That style of play has earned the Dutch widespread if sometimes grudging admiration in other countries, notably England, Germany and Spain. But never in Italy. On the other hand, the Dutch press and public have never made a secret of their dislike of the way Italians tend to play football, and the three highly disappointing final tournaments the Dutch played in Italy (the 1934 and 1990 World Cups and the 1980 European Championship) have not helped.

The match which summarises the Dutch-Italian football relationship best must be the 2000 European Championship semifinal, played in the Netherlands. Desperate but eventually impotent Dutch attacking, gritty Italian defending at the cost of two (justifiable) red cards and the most horrific penalty shoot-out performance in a decade-long series of Dutch 12-yards disasters. It illustrated a bon mot from the greatest ever Dutch player, Johan Cruijff: Italianen kennen niet van je winnen, maar je ken wel van ze verliezen – "Italians can't beat you, but you can lose to them".

Still, even if the overall record is heavily in Italy's favour (Oranje have never won a friendly match against the Azzurri), that semifinal was the first competitive match between the two countries which had Italy rejoicing at the end. Prior to a defeat in the UEFA Nations League in 2020, the four other competitive encounters went the Dutch way, including the 0-1 loss in 1975 – Italy had been out of the running before that match, thanks to a home draw against Finland (0-0 of course), while the Dutch knew before the match they only needed to avoid a 3-goal loss in order to finish first in the group, ahead of Poland; after Italy took a second minute lead (their third goal in six qualifying matches), the Dutch midfield froze the match.

Less than three years after that 'victorious' Dutch loss, the two met at the 1978 World Cup in what was effectively a semifinal. But while the Dutch came into the match with a 7-3 goal record from the previous matches against Austria and West Germany, Italy were (typically) on 1-0, implying the Dutch only needed a draw to reach the final (barring a five-goal German win in the parallel match in Córdoba, but Berti Vogts and Hans Krankl took care that that never was an option). Ernie Brandts scored an own goal, injuring Piet Schrijvers, the first choice 'keeper, after only 19 minutes, but made partial amends by equalising himself early in the second half before Arie Haan let loose his second long-distance missile in as many World Cup matches, and after Sepp Maier also Dino Zoff was left wondering what had hit the net.

Since then, there have been a number of (more or less) friendly encounters, usually resulting in an Italian win, that cursed semifinal in 2000, and a very strange game at Euro 2008 in which Van Basten's team played both attractive and successful football for the first (and one but last) time during his 4-year tenure. The last three matches were all part of the new UEFA Nations League, and the Dutch are yet to win.

Official Matches

All matches listed are friendlies unless otherwise stated.

Game Date        Venue         Result                      Remark

  1. 13- 5-1920  Genova        Italy       1-1 Netherlands 
  2.  8- 5-1921  Amsterdam     Netherlands 2-2 Italy  
  3.  2-12-1928  Milano        Italy       3-2 Netherlands 
  4.  6- 4-1930  Amsterdam     Netherlands 1-1 Italy  
  5. 20-11-1974  Rotterdam     Netherlands 3-1 Italy       [European Champ. Qual.]
  6. 22-11-1975  Roma          Italy       1-0 Netherlands [European Champ. Qual.]
  7. 21- 6-1978  Buenos Aires  Netherlands 2-1 Italy       [World Cup]
  8. 24- 2-1979  Milano        Italy       3-0 Netherlands 
  9.  6- 1-1981  Montevideo    Italy       1-1 Netherlands [Mundialito]
 10. 16-11-1988  Roma          Italy       1-0 Netherlands    
 11. 21- 2-1990  Rotterdam     Netherlands 0-0 Italy
 12. 26- 9-1990  Palermo       Italy       1-0 Netherlands 
 13.  9- 9-1992  Eindhoven     Netherlands 2-3 Italy  
 14. 29- 6-2000  Amsterdam     Netherlands 0-0 Italy       [aet, 1-3 pen] [European Championship]
 15. 12-11-2005  Amsterdam     Netherlands 1-3 Italy  
 16.  9- 6-2008  Bern          Netherlands 3-0 Italy       [European Championship]
 17. 14-11-2009  Pescara       Italy       0-0 Netherlands 
 18.  6- 2-2013  Amsterdam     Netherlands 1-1 Italy
 19.  4- 9-2014  Bari          Italy       2-0 Netherlands      
 20. 28- 3-2017  Amsterdam     Netherlands 1-2 Italy
 21.  4- 6-2018  Torino        Italy       1-1 Netherlands
 22.  7- 9-2020  Amsterdam     Netherlands 0-1 Italy       [European Nations League]
 23. 14-10-2020  Bergamo       Italy       1-1 Netherlands [European Nations League]
 24. 18- 6-2023  Enschede      Netherlands 2-3 Italy       [European Nations League]


Total record:

Italy                24 11 10  3  33- 24  32
Netherlands          24  3 10 11  24- 33  16

Some more stats:

                     Pd  I  D  N  IG- NG

In Italy:            10  6  4  0  14-  5
In the Netherlands:  10  5  5  1  17- 13
Elsewhere:            3  0  1  2   2-  6

Italy - List of International Matches

Netherlands - List of International Matches

About this document

Prepared and maintained by Karel Stokkermans for the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation

Author: Karel Stokkermans
Last updated: 6 Jul 2023

(C) Copyright Karel Stokkermans and RSSSF 2010/23
You are free to copy this document in whole or part provided that proper acknowledgement is given to the author. All rights reserved.