Hup Holland. Let’s get it clear, right off the bat: Of course I’m happy that Holland’s advancing. I’m even happier that Diego Forlan’s night/week/tournament/year’s been ruined. Which, I know Julian Kersh is happy about that, as well. What I’m not so happy about? The manner in which it’s been done. This was Oranje: From Concentrate.
After 30 minutes and periodic poking, Giovanni van Bronckhorst put the Dutch up with an absolutely brilliant strike. As the Dutch moved the ball up the field, the Uruguayan midfield rushed to pressure in a flat line of three across the middle, leaving space for a very out of position van Bronckhorst to take a touch and have a strike – one of the best of the tournament.
That, for the Dutch, was the only spot of brilliance in the first half – and arguably, for the game. For a team to make it to the Final of this year’s cup and do it in such an unattractive fashion, is simply ridiculous. For those who question the existence of luck – simply look at this half of the table en route to the Final in Cape Town. Both the Dutch and Uruguay made it through – not based on skill, but based on the ball being in the right place at the right time, and the opposition, not.
I know that this sounds like I’m superbly critical of the Dutch and am throwing out some serious hate. The latter, simply not true. The formative part – you better believe it. For a parallel – it’s the exact same way with a player that is constantly under-performing: there’s a reason to question his ability, desire and overall performance. So, the National Team that I throw all my support behind when I’m not barking like a stark-crave American lunatic, what the hell is the matter?
You’ve had opportunity after opportunity to play at a level that is consistent with your best, and you haven’t done it. The question arises: how do you beat the Dutch? Simple: frustrate them.
Clearly the Uruguayans were able to do it tonight. In the bit sandwiched in between van Bronckhorst’s and Forlan’s goals – the Dutch were continually frustrated to the point of resembling the Azzuri with regard to ability, or lack there of, to conceded foul after foul and then flail around on the ground in effort to receive the call their way. STOP IT!
Only in the latter stages of the second half did there seem to be any calmness or composure about the Dutch side. Was it because of the cushion from Sneijder’s goal? Most likely. If that’s the answer, then, as silly as it sounds, score some more goals. Rather, I don’t expect you to finish every chance on goals Robin, Wesley, Arjen and Dirk: but let’s get some good service on our final balls and actually show the world what Total Football is.
In conclusion, in an effort of shameless self-promotion, to explain my absence from the site for the past 3 weeks – I’ve been away in Belfast working on my UEFA B License. If you care to read about it – or are simply looking for proof that I wasn’t held up hiding from my bookie – then check it out here.