England are into the 2018 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals, and isn’t that just a great thing to say out loud?
We may have made hard work of it as we always seem to do, but in the end, we were able to come away with a result that half of us were expecting and half of us refused to admit was a possibility. Still, this piece isn’t about that, and instead, it’s about praising the act of a Dutchman who revolutionised the way in which we view centre-forwards in this game.
It was at the quarter-final stage as the Netherlands took on Argentina, with the winners going on to face Brazil in the final four of the tournament. It was a back and forth encounter, to say the least until in the 90th minute, Dennis Bergkamp managed to take the ball down and finish it in such a way that many fans to this day still can’t believe he managed to pull it off.
While they didn’t manage to edge their way past the Brazilians in the semi-finals, what they did do was cause a moment in time for every single football fan in their country – and even for those that weren’t. The World Cup brings so much joy to so many, and that resonates through the main man Bergkamp.
The Amsterdam-born forward kicked off his career with hometown club Ajax, which is really where he made a name for himself. From that point on he had a two-year stint with Inter Milan, and while he wasn’t quite as successful as he was in Holland, he did enough to earn himself a big money move to Highbury with Premier League giants Arsenal.
Whilst there he turned himself into a legend in every sense of the word, and it’s fair to say that he’ll never have to pay for a drink in North London ever again. Arsenal are crying out for a foreign striker like him and have been for quite some time, and while we’ve had a handful come close over the years, none have done quite as much for AFC as Bergkamp – especially when he was playing alongside Thierry Henry.
If you want an indication of just how good the Dutch were in that era compared to this one, just think about how they didn’t even qualify for the WC this time around.
What’s your favourite Dennis Bergkamp memory?