Saturday, July 03, 2010

I think I'll wear Orange today

My favorite Europeans are about now ... well ...
Don't call the Dutch underachievers anymore.

Not after the way the Netherlands rallied to upset five-time champion Brazil 2-1 in the World Cup quarterfinals Friday.

After waking themselves up at halftime, the title that has eluded the Dutch for all these years is now just two wins away.

"For 45 minutes we went full throttle," said Wesley Sneijder. "We were rewarded."

One of the shortest players on the field, Sneijder put the Netherlands ahead in the 68th minute on a header — a thrill so huge he ran to a TV camera, tapped the lens and stuck his face in for a close up.

"It just slipped through from my bald head and it was a great feeling," Sneijder said.

He was in the middle of the post-game party, too, as his teammates swarmed him when the final whistle blew. John Heitinga picked up Sneijder and slung him over his shoulder as Netherlands captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst, a Brazil shirt in hand, leaped up and rubbed Sneidjer's closely shaved head.

The result was a case of role reversal for both sides.

The top-ranked team in the world and one of the most impressive squads in the tournament until Friday, Brazil lost its composure after falling behind and defender Felipe Melo was ejected in the 73rd minute for stomping on the leg of Arjen Robben.

The Dutch made the championship match in 1974 and '78, lost both, and rarely have lived up to their talent in other World Cups. They did this time, helped by an own goal off the head of unfortunate Felipe Melo that brought them into a 1-1 tie in the 53rd.
I think Hans and Virginia are smiling today as well.

Just because it reminds me of how nice most of Western Europe looks ...


ewok40k said...

As Poland didnt make it to the finals, I am all for the Dutch!

Tort said...

SPAIN takes it this year,
Sorry Homeslice.

Tort said...

SPAIN takes it this year,
Sorry Homeslice.

Old Squid said...

Poor ole Holland.  What do you do when you meet an opponent faster and more skillful than you and who plays your game better than you do?  Hit them harder!

It almost worked.  

Anybody with kids playing sports should read Outliers.  The explanation of how a supposed merit selection process in youth hockey is outstanding.  American soccer has the same type of select teams <span>Outliers critiques.  In Holland, every kid gets the same kind of soccer training as everybody else.  They don't have bench-warmers all the kids play the same amount of time.  The result?</span>

<span>USA: population 307 million: out in the first game of the second round.</span>

Holland: population 16 million:  silver medal.