Wed 11 August 2021 | 15:30

Top Facts about Rob Rensenbrink, the Dutch Jewelry

Rob Rensenbrink, who played two World Cup finals against West Germany and Argentina, is known as one of the best Dutch footballers of all time. In this article, we are going to review the top facts about Rob Rensenbrink.

Rob Rensenbrink was born on July 3, 1947, in the Netherlands and passed away on 24 January 2020. Rob Rensenbrink is also well known as, Dutch left-winger who was vital in his national team’s appearances in two World Cup finals, in 1974 and 1978.

Top Facts about Rob Rensenbrink, the Dutch Jewelry

Pieter Robert (Rob) Rensenbrink (3 July 1947 – 24 January 2020) was a Dutch footballer and player of the Dutch national football team that reached two consecutive World Cup finals in 1974 and 1978, playing both matches against the hosts of the World Cups.

One of the

top facts about Rob Rensenbrink

is that he was a creative and prolific left-winger or forward of considerable ability and became a legend in Belgium while playing in the great 


 team of the 1970s.

Rob Rensenbrink is the UEFA Cup Winners Cup's all-time top scorer, with 25 goals. A talented dribbler as well as a calm finisher and adequate passer, he missed only two penalties in his whole professional career. Rob Rensenbrink was also the first winner of the Onze d'Or.

Let’s have a review of the

top facts about Rob Rensenbrink, who is always remembered as one of the best Dutch football players.

Quick information about Rob Rensenbrink

  • Full Name: 

    Pieter Robert (Rob) Rensenbrink

  • Occupation:

     Football Player

  • Age:

    Passed away at the age of 73

  • Date of Birth:

    July 3, 1947

  • Place of Birth:

    Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • Star Sign:


  • Nationality:


  • Position:

    Attacker - Left Winger

Rob Rensenbrink professional club career

As it was pointed out, Rob Rensenbrink was born in Amsterdam in 1947. Rob Rensenbrink started his professional career at DWS, which is an Amsterdam unprofessional football club. Next, he moved to Belgian team Club Brugge in 1969.

Between 1971 and 1980 Rob Rensenbrink played for Anderlecht where he enjoyed his ultimate club achievements. In total when Rob Rensenbrink played in Belgium he won the Belgian Championships twice, the Belgian Cup five times and at the European club, he won the European Cup Winners' Cup twice in 1976 and 1978 as well as being runner-up in 1977.

Rob Rensenbrink had a prominent performance in 1976 final as Anderlecht won against 

West Ham United

4–2. He netted two goals, one from the penalty spot and then he assisted Francois Van der Elst for the fourth goal for Anderlecht.

One of the

top facts about Rob Rensenbrink

is that one of his teammates in the Dutch national team, Arie Haan was among the players in the club.

In 1980, he left Anderlecht and continued his professional football career with a period at 

Portland Timbers

 in the NASL, followed by a short-term stay at Toulouse in France in 1981.

Rob Rensenbrink international career

One of the top facts about Rob Rensenbrink is that he made his first international appearance for the Netherlands national football team against 


 in 1968. However, he played relatively few games due to competition for the forward positions with Johan Cruijff and Piet Keizer. Though, Rinus Michels included Rob Rensenbrink for the 1974 FIFA World Cup players that made the short trip to West Germany to play in the World Cup.

The Dutch team that took part in the 1974 FIFA World Cup were the peak of Total Football. Most of the 1974 team were made up of players from AFC Ajax and Feyenoord, so Rob Rensenbrink was a stranger and was unacquainted with playing the system. His preferred position was upfront on the left, but that position was already Johan Cruijff's realm, so he played on the left-wing position in midfield, taking over from Ajax player Piet Keizer.

Rob Rensenbrink could not play one match in the World Cup and Keizer played instead of him. Though, he was only half-fit for the final match after he suffered from an injury during the semi-final match against 


. Rinus Michels gambled on Rob Rensenbrink's fitness and played him from the start of the final match. However, he only could play until the end of the first half and was replaced by Rene van de Kerkhof.

The Netherlands national football team took an early lead through a Johan Neeskens penalty, but goals from Paul Breitner and Gerd Müller gave West Germany a 2–1 win. Rob Rensenbrink's performances saw him named to the team of the World Cup and he was sought by Ajax as a replacement for Keizer. Nevertheless, contract talks fell through and he remained at his club, Anderlecht.

Rob Rensenbrink stayed in the Dutch national team during the qualifier matches and finals of the 1976 European Football Championship. Though, the Netherlands were defeated by Czechoslovakia at the semi-final stage.

In the 1978 FIFA World Cup competition in Argentina, the Netherlands national team again reached the final match, but this time without Johan Cruijff (who decided to retire from international football) and under the guidance of Ernst Happel rather than Michels.

While he was out of the shadow of Johan Cruijff, Rob Rensenbrink could find more room to showcase his own great skills, playing on the left-hand side of a front three alongside Johnny Rep and René van de Kerkhof.

One of the most significant top facts about Rob Rensenbrink is that he netted a hat-trick in the first game against Iran, another goal against Scotland which was the 1000th goal in the World Cup history, and a penalty in the 5–1 victory over Austria.

In the final match against Argentina, the Netherlands national team, however, again met the World Cup hosts. In an intense game, the Netherlands fell behind to a first-half Mario Kempes strike. After Dick Nanninga's equalizer 9 minutes from time, a long pass from the Dutch captain Ruud Krol in the last 30 seconds of normal time gave Rob Rensenbrink a half-chance to net but his shot from a very narrow angle was deflected on to the goalpost and bounced clear. If Rob Rensenbrink he had scored, it would have been his most important goal in his professional career and in the history of the Netherlands football history. Moreover, it is almost certain that the Dutch national team would have won the World Cup with Rob Rensenbrink being top goal scorer of the tournament.

Finally, Argentina scored twice in extra-time for a 3–1 win and the Netherlands again had to finish with the runners-up spot.

Rob Rensenbrink played some of the matches of qualifiers for Euro 80, but after playing his 46th match in 1979 (a 2–0 defeat by Poland in a qualifier of Euro 80), he retired from international football at the age of 32, having netted 14 times for his home country.

One of the

top facts about Rob Rensenbrink

is that he along with Eusebio are the only football players to net the most goals from a penalty spot in a tournament (4 penalties in 1978).

Rob Rensenbrink was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballe players in March 2004. Rensenbrink was also named Anderlecht's best ever foreign player in 2008.

Rob Rensenbrink after professional career

At the end of his International career, Rob Rensenbrink could not play 50 matches to commemorate his time in the national team. Following his international debut in 1968, Rob Rensenbrink played relatively few games due to competition for the forward positions with Johan Cruyff and Piet Keizer.

The The Royal Dutch Football Association were not completely ignorant of his talents, however; Rinus Michels included Rob Rensenbrink for the 1974 FIFA World Cup squad and despite being around for just under ten years as a player, the World Cup in West Germany would be Rob Rensenbrink’s first international tournament appearance.

The Dutch national team that took part in the 1974 FIFA World Cup was one dominated by players from AFC Ajax and Feyenoord in quantity as well as personality. Rob Rensenbrink was a stranger and was unfamiliar with playing the system. He was not alone in feeling apart from the rest; PSV players including van der Kuijlen and van Beveren also found themselves ostracised for frequent clashes with their Eredivisie rivals.

Today, Rob Rensenbrink admits that he never played at the same level at the Netherlands national team that he played at his clubs. It took him time to adapt to the Dutch total football – tactics did not interest him and he did not enjoy learning it.

While it was not difficult to come back to defend mentally, it was difficult for him physically. Rob Rensenbrink admits that he played better in 1978 due to the absence of Johan Cruyff, but in 1974 FIFA World Cup Cruyff was a coach on the field and Rob Rensenbrink was an introvert. So, Cruyff talked to the team and Rob Rensenbrink listened with head down.

Comments on Rob Rensenbrink

Jan Mulder, Dutch former footballer, writer, columnist, and TV personality once said, “Robbie Rensenbrink was as good as Cruyff, only in his mind was he not.” It seems what he asserted is not unbelieveable.

When on looks in from the outside, it is an odd concept, but just how close the Netherlands came to winning the 1978 World Cup hasn’t left too obvious an imprint on the national spirit, or at least definitely not in the same way as the disappointment to triumph in 1974 has.

Rob Rensenbrink came to within the width of an Estadio Monumental goalpost from complete footballing immortality. An inch further to the right and the Netherlands national team would have become the sixth different champion of the World Cup, rather than Argentina. Rob Rensenbrink would have joined a special group of players to have netted a World Cup-winning goal, and he would have finished the World Cup as its top scorer.

By a large amount, Rob Rensenbrink was deflected away from immortality, as he instead drifted into a world of under-appreciation in his home nation. Apart from in the Low Countries of Belgium and the Netherlands and among followers of football contemporary subculture and all over the world, Rob Rensenbrink is generally forgotten.

Rob Rensenbrink was a brilliant football player. Amazingly talented with skill to burn, he was blessed with a delightful left foot and bewitching close-control which saw him drift past defenders as if they were not there, an aptitude that sprang from a dribbling stylishness which gave him the rare tendency to be able to take a ball right into the face of opposite defenders before changing direction at the last second. Changeable, dangerous and, at his best form, impossible to play against, he should not be forgotten forever.

Rob Rensenbrink was born in Oostzaan, almost nine miles away from the north of the city of Amsterdam, he slipped through the prolific Ajax net, and instead finding his way into football with city rivals DWS.

Basically on an amateur football club despite being one of the best players, and enjoying occasional forays into the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, Rob Rensenbrink were never likely to be contained for a long time.

In the summer of 1969, when he was at the age of 22, a year after making his debut at the Netherlands national team, it was the best time for Rob Rensenbrink to move on from DWS club. The unstoppable rise of Ajax had gained pace, having just contested their first European Cup final, while their hostile rivals Feyenoord, who had won the Eredivisie trophy, were just a year away from going one better in the 1970 final against Celtic.

Rob Rensenbrink after retirement

Rob Rensenbrink, a man who never went into coaching a football team, remains locked within that bright moment when he hit the post with only a few seconds to go in the 1978 World Cup final. He remains a man under-appreciated by many in his homeland, and one often forgotten by football generally. Regardless of that, he will always be a man who hypnotically owned the ball, one who so very nearly inherited the world.

Rob Rensenbrink Personal life

One of the facts about Rob Rensenbrink’s personal life is that he was married and lived in Oostzaan. In the summer of 2015 he revealed that he had been diagnosed with progressive muscular atrophy three years earlier.

Rob Rensenbrink death

Rensenbrink died on 24 January 2020. Belgian news sources reported that he had been diagnosed with a muscular disease in 2012 which led to his death.

When Rob Rensenbrink died, the Dutch football association said Rob Rensenbrink, the forward who was centimeters away from delivering the Netherlands national football team a World Cup trophy in 1978, had died at age 72.

"We have heard with sadness of the death of football legend Rob Rensenbrink," the association said in a post on social media.

The media also reported, “Rob Rensenbrink played most of his club football in Belgium with Club Brugge and Anderlecht, where his weaving runs earned him the nickname “Snake Man.” He also played briefly for the Portland Timbers in the United States in 1980.”

They added, “He was a regular for the Netherlands national team in its period of dominance in the 1970s. He played 46 times and scored 14 goals for the Dutch team known for its slick, position-swapping “total football.”

The media also said, “But he will always be best remembered for the goal he didn't quite score in the 1978 World Cup final. With the scores tied at 1-1 between the Netherlands and host Argentina and the seconds ticking away in injury time of the final in Buenos Aires, Rensenbrink's shot hit the post. The match went to extra time and Argentina scored twice to win 3-1.”

It is worth mentioning that it was the second consecutive FIFA World Cup final defeat for the Netherlands national football team that they were defeated. The Netherlands also reached another final in 2010 in which they lost as well.

Rob Rensenbrink was diagnosed with a muscle illness in 2012 and died as a result of the disorder, according to Dutch national broadcaster NOS.

According to the Belgian club website, Anderlecht football paid tribute to Rob Rensenbrink saying, “Thanks for everything Robbie! We will never forget you”.

Rob Rensenbrink trophies

Club Brugge

  • Belgian Cup in 1969–70

  • RSC Anderlecht

  • Belgian First Division in 1971–72, 1973–74

  • Belgian Cup in 1971–72, 1972–73, 1974–75, 1975–76

  • Belgian League Cup in 1973, 1974

  • European Cup Winners' Cup in 1975–76 (winners), 1976-77 (runners-up), 1977–78 (winners)

  • European Super Cup in 1976, 1978

  • Amsterdam Tournament in 1976

  • Tournoi de Paris in 1977

  • Jules Pappaert Cup in 1977

  • Belgian Sports Merit Award in 1978


  • Division 2 in 1981–82

  • International


  • FIFA World Cup in 1974 (runners-up), 1978 (runners-up)

  • UEFA European Football Championship in 1976 (third place)

Individual achievements

  • Belgian First Division top scorer in 1972–73 (16 goals)

  • Belgian Golden Shoe in 1976

  • Best foreign player in the Belgian First Division ever in 2007

  • Best RSC Anderlecht player ever in 2008

  • The Best Golden Shoe Team in 2011

  • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team (2) in 1974, 1978

  • European Cup Winners' Cup top scorer in 1975–76 (8 goals)

  • UEFA Cup Winners' Cup All-time top scorer in 1st place (25 goals)

  • IOC European Footballer of the Season in 1975–76

  • Ballon d'Or in 1976 (runner-up), 1978 (third place)

  • Onze d'Or in 1976

  • FIFA World Cup Bronze Boot in 1978

  • FIFA World Cup Most Assists in 1978

  • Onze de Bronze (2) in 1978, 1979

  • FIFA 100 in 2004

  • Scorer of the 1000th World Cup goal


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