29. Dennis Bergkamp
The inspiration for Arsenal’s golden era from 1997-06, Dennis Bergkamp never quite hit the same heights at international level. Even so, his career for the Netherlands was better than you probably remember.
While glimpses of his brilliance were fewer on the national stage, Bergkamp still thrived at two tournaments. He was arguably the best player at USA ’94, helping his country reach the last eight.
He scored twice along the way, netting against Morocco in the group stage, before opening the scoring against the Republic of Ireland in the round of 16.
Unfortunately, Dennis and the Netherlands were seen off 3-2 by eventual winners Brazil. Bergkamp got on the scoresheet again in an instant classic, having proved his worth as a burgeoning master of the beautiful game.
He was back four years later to help the Netherlands reach the semifinals. This time, his contribution produced one of the most memorable goals in World Cup history.
It came against Argentina in the last eight, when Bergkamp plucked an angled long pass from Frank de Boer out of the air with a killer first touch, before cutting inside past his marker. His next touch was a sweetly struck volley to send La Albiceleste out.
Bergkamp had already scored in the group stage against South Korea, while also netting in a 2-1 win over Yugoslavia in the round of 16. Unfortunately, the last great Dutch master could never get past Brazil, losing to the Selecao on penalties in the semifinal.
Bergkamp had the talent to win the trophy, but his nation never put a cohesive and contented team around him.