Euro 2020

Netherlands mourns two-time runner-up Rob Rensenbrink | Die UEFA – Euro 2020

by: Adam Smith


Former Dutch international Rob Rensenbrink has died at the age of 72.

Rensenbrink belonged to the Golden Generation of Dutch football and played in both 1974 and 1978 in the final of the FIFA World Cup. In the final minutes of the 1978 World Cup final against Argentina, Rensenbrink was denied the winning goal at 1-1 – his shot only hit the post. In the end, the Netherlands lost the game after extra time.

In the 46 international matches he played for Oranje, he scored a total of 14 goals. His nickname in Dutch was “het slangenmens” (the snake man) because he knew how to free himself from the most difficult game situations.

Rensenbrink was the leader of the RSC Anderlecht in the final of the European Cup Winners' Cup 1978.

Rensenbrink was the leader of the RSC Anderlecht in the final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup 1978.©Getty Images

At club level Rensenbrink played for DWS Amsterdam, FC Bruges, RSC Anderlecht, Portland Timbers and FC Toulouse. He had his greatest successes at the RSC Anderlecht, with which he won two times, four times cup winner and twice European Cup winner. In the european Cup finals he scored against West Ham United in 1976 and Austria Vienna in 1978. In 1973 he was the Belgian top scorer and in 1976 he was named Player of the Year of the Belgian League.

“Robbie Rensenbrink delighted all and Everyone who loves football,” the club said via its official Twitter channel. “Thank you, Robbie! You will stay in our purple hearts forever.”

“Rob was not only a brilliant player, but also someone who was happy to work with,” said Ruud Krol, a Dutch team-mate at the 1974 and 1978 World Cup finals. “I gave Rob the template for his post shot in the 1978 final. In our memory, however, we should not reduce Rob to this shot alone. With his dribblings he could decide a game. In a way, he was a magician on the pitch.”

Johnny Rep, another celebrated star of the glorious 1970s “Elftal,” added: “I always spent time with him when we played for the national team. We got along very well right away. He was quite reserved, a bit shy even. But what a good player he was! In 1978 he played an outstanding tournament.”

Rensenbrink suffered from spinal muscular atrophy and died on 25 January.