Euro Chumps: Ronald Koeman

The Dutch side of 1988 was one brimming with talent; easily one of the best sides in European Championship history.

But in typical Dutch fashion they had to tarnish that accolade with pure petulance and it should come as no surprise that it was one of the most petulant players of all.

Defender Ronald Koeman wasn’t your typical bruising centre half. Not blessed with tremendous height or much pace, Koeman relied on a GPS-like sense of positioning, a clever football brain and a range of passing that was akin to that of championship golfer on the driving range. Add to that an unerring accuracy from set pieces; Koeman boasted a goal record of one in every four games from centre half – and you can see why he was such an important part of this glittering Dutch side.

But whilst Messrs. Van Basten, Gullit and Rijkaard were doing their best to light up the tournament, Koeman was trying his best to uphold that Dutch tradition of bringing of the game into disrepute.

Fresh off being left in the dust by England’s Bryan Robson, Koeman went one better in the semi-final against archrivals West Germany. After Van Basten netted a last-gasp winner to send the Dutch through to the final and the hosts spiralling out. As is tradition, the two teams swapped shirts at the final whistle with Koeman receiving Olaf Thon’s.

And to show his gratitude, Koeman proceeded to simulate wiping his backside with the West German midfielder’s top, right in front of the home supporters. This would be the equivalent to Ally McCoist wiping his nose with Gary Lineker’s top in front of a packed Wembley. Regrettably, it wouldn’t be Koeman’s last misdemeanour on the big stage.

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