7 Oct 2010

It's time to talk about the final...

Xabi Alonso - What a wimp...
You may have noticed that until now, I have not at all mentioned the World Cup Final this summer and considering that I am Dutch, you might find this a bit weird. However, there is reason for only posting a response to this relatively important event in the sporting calendar almost 3 months after the final whistle was blown. You see, I've been a bit irritated by people in England, as well as other countries, in fact, pretty much everyone who is a sports fan who isn't Dutch. During the Quarter-Finals, England was in a sort of depression mode, hoping that everyone good went out because at least it provided some drama in a then-Englandless tournament, and when underdogs Holland defeated Brazil, people congratulated Holland on beating the footballing country of the world. Yet a week or two later and all of these people who "really liked the way that you guys played" had turned into back-stabbers. All because of one blatant dive from Xabi Alonso, see picture above, and a card-happy English ref, Holland was suddenly World Enemy No #1, convicted of being the anti-football. One second they're the classy underdogs, the next, they're being associated with the football equivalent of the devil. During that World Cup Final, Holland became more hated than, incredibly, Uruguay. Yes, the day after the World Cup Final, I saw someone post on Facebook that "Spain vs Uruguay would have been a better final". What!?. Uruguay, the country that stopped Ghana, probably the most widely loved team of the tournament, from progressing to their first-ever semi-finals, with a hand ball by Suarez, who then followed that with a celebration, were now preferred to the Holland that had "outplayed an outstanding Brazilian side with their classy style". What gets me going the most about all of this is that in England, the line between Anti-football and solid defensive play is incredibly blurred. Many of the pundits on television laud the way that the Premier League is a physical game, where skill is not everything, yet the moment Spain are suddenly on the receiving end of that and it's Holland not, say, Wolves (by the way, you think van Bommel's bad, take a look at some of Karl Henry's tackles), it's evil. Against Barcelona, in the semis of the Champions' League, Inter were praised for finding the key to beating the seemingly-unbeatable team in what was seen by Henry Shawdon, of the Guardian, as a triumph for Mounrinho's style of management" which just slightly leads me to think that if only Casillas' heel had not stopped Robben's shot in the second half, then maybe Holland would be praised for beating a seemingly-unbeatable Spanish side (although I suppose the Swiss had already done it and they were rubbish). Anyway, I suppose that, through gritted teeth, I owe Spain a congratulations... ah... it feels good to finally get that speech out of my system...

2 comments:

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  2. also, if you look at the statistics for the world cup for mark van bommel, apart from numerous fouls, he has been a key holding midfield player for holland (ie. passing + succesful tackles). People tend to concentrate on the bad aspects rather than the good aspects.

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