“Where were you on June 29, 2000?” Never ask that question to a Dutch football supporter. On that day, the Orange suffered a trauma in Amsterdam.
The team of national coach Frank Rijkaard bulked up with the stars at the European Championship in Belgium and the Netherlands. They had Patrick Kluivert, Dennis Bergkamp, Edgar Davids, Frank de Boer, Jaap Stam and Clarence Seedorf. The Orange had won three times in the group stage. From the Czech Republic (1-0), Denmark (3-0) and reigning world champion France (3-2). In the quarterfinals, Yugoslavia lost 6-1.
In the semi-final battle, Dino Zoff’s Italy awaited. With stars such as Francesco Totti, Alessandro Del Piero, Paolo Maldini, Fabio Cannavaro and Alessandro Nesta. The goal was not the injured Gianluigi Buffon, but the experienced Francesco Toldo. The then keeper of Fiorentina turned out to be the tormentor of the Netherlands for 51,000 spectators in Amsterdam.
The Orange was the better team and played together chance after chance. That resulted in no less than two penalties within the regular playing time. The first after 39 minutes was missed by Frank de Boer. The second after 62 minutes, Patrick Kluivert kicked the post. When there was no winner even after extra time, a penalty series followed. De Boer missed again, just like Jaap Stam and Paul Bosvelt. Kluivert did score this time, but the Italians needed three striking eleven meters (Luigi Di Biagio, Gianluca Pessotto and Totti with a panenka) to advance to the final.
The Italians would eventually lose that final to France after a “golden goal” by David Trezeguet: 1-2.