Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Guest Post: A Dutch Fan Rejoices, Again

In the spirit of the competition, UF is trying to bring in fans to write about their country's ups and downs throughout the tournament, and with the Dutch being the biggest story of the tournament thus far, we are bringing back Joep, a Dutch native enjoying the Oranje run in the tournament, who previously recapped the Dutch perspective after its stunning 3-0 victory over Italy. Holland has already clinched its group and faces its final match against Rumania today with the prospect of having both Italy and France knocked out with a Dutch loss, but I don't think the Dutch are thinking that way.

Below is Joep's perspective leading up to and after the France match. I imagine the trepidation he felt then is not present now. And, don't forget to cheer for the Dutch because everytime they score Joep gets to do the above with a random hot Dutch women.

There was always that lingering insecurity when we looked forward to
the next game. Boisterous and confident we belted to "bring on the
French already!" But not very-deep-down it was apparent to all of us
that our growing sense of confidence was a front, and in reality
nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to hide the fear that what
he had witnessed against the Italians was nothing but a one-off. The
word fluke was not to be mentioned by anyone, but the sense that our
3-0 against the World Champions was exactly that had taken root with
everyone I spoke in the days after the game.

We started looking at the tables, and when the Italians drew Rumania
we started covering ourselves by saying that even a loss to the
French, losing finalists only two years ago after all, wouldn't even
necessarily be that bad a result. It would get our heads out of the
clouds that had gathered around them on Monday, and we would see all
the more clearly for the remainder of the Euros. So win, draw or loss,
we, being about 17 people crammed together in a student room, managed
to find half-hearted pros and cons for all of them.

Even going up early against the French didn't really ease the tension.
The French always have the habit of scoring exactly when I don't want
them to, and I don't think I've ever wanted them to blow every single
chance they'd get as much as Friday night – meaning they would surely
win. And indeed, after the halftime break, they started piling on some
nerve wrecking pressure and looked sure to score. And then San Marco

Before the tournament started and our hopes of surviving the group
stage were slim at best, we had argued for fielding all of our best
players, in a formation that would surely leave our back four so
incredibly exposed, we would be home after a couple of days. These
players, we thought, were van der Vaart, Sneijder, Robben, Van Persie
and Van Nistelrooy. We daydreamed about this quintet on the field at
the same time, realizing it probably wouldn't happen because none of
them would track back and defend. But with 1-0 up against the French,
our defense under enormous pressure and with Sneijder, van der Vaart
and van Nistelrooy already on the pitch, Marco brought Robben. And
then van Persie.

What happened next you've all probably already seen; van Nistelrooy,
who has been forever dogged by nay-sayers about being nothing more
than a poacher, the lowest of the low, a limited striker who couldn't
score a goal from outside the 6 yard box if his life depended on it,
launched Robben on the left wing with the exact bit of skill the
French have come to see as their national heritage; Ruud's pirouette
on the ball allowed Robben to cross for van Persie for our second

The French did come back, once, but I had to wait longer for the line
for the bathrooms in the clubs of Utrecht later that night than it
took Arjen Robben to restore the margin to two. This sounds like an
overstatement but actually isn't. By the time Sneijder performed
his last minute hommage to Dennis Bergkamp, none of us had any air
left to scream. As it turns out, it takes quite a bit out of you to
see your country beat both finalists from the last World Cup 7-1 over
180 minutes of play.

We gaan naar Wenen toe. Get used to the idea and mark your calendars


Lingering Bursitis said...

I am pleased to see Total Football returning again, but I am pissed off that Dirk Kuyt has been saving his heroism for the national side instead of displaying it at Anfield for most of the season. Bastard.

Goat said...

Join the club, LB. I'm pissed off that Van Persie is healthy for the Dutch but not for Arsenal. Not really. More like really, really nervous anytime he gets tackled.

The Fan's Attic said...

LB: you must admit, Kuyt played quite well for the second half of the EPL season. do you forget his CL play against Inter, Arsenal and Chelsea?

Lingering Bursitis said...

Of course I don't, Sir Attic. It's his lackluster efforts against the Wigans, Birminghams and Spurs of the world that irritate the life out of me

The NY Kid said...

stoopid Dutch (sorry Joep!). Please beat Romania today so that we maintain our destiny in our own hands.

Allez les Bleus!

Lingering Bursitis said...

Looking at French history, they are a unique country as I don't think they've ever held their destiny in their own hands, sporting or otherwise.

/ war joke

Eladio said...

Humph...no one even thought to ask me to blog about the Poles...

Lingering Bursitis said...

Eladio, there's still time if you want to do a post-mortem on your lumbering lot. Drop us a line and we'll talk.

Eladio said...

Oh no, the only thing I know about the Poles is that Fabianski looks great in a Gunner uniform. Altho I understand Moonshine Mike's homepage is busty.pl, so he might have had a few good thoughts to share.

The Fan's Attic said...

Just because nobody else has said it:

dude, yesplease.

Joep Smeets said...

hey guys, thanks again for the opportunity to post this here, and I hope you enjoy the Dutch game tonight (although I suspect most of you will watch the other game)

Goat said...

Who knew Hooters girls were fans of the Dutch?