Holland, Magnanimous in Defeat? Not Likely!

Along with the other 700 million people I watched the World Cup Final, and I must say, the best team won. As an exhibition of world-class football however, it was a disaster. Commentators referred to Holland’s style of play as ‘aggressive’, but to me it was a diabolical exhibition of how the game should NOT be played.

De Jong and Alonso

During the 2006 World Cup ‘Fair Play’ was the watchword on everyone’s lips, but all that seems to have been forgotten 4 years later. The tactics used by the Dutch team have not done their image any good at all. Vicious tackles on Spanish players were made every few minutes, including an extremely serious  boot from De Jong full in the sternum of Spain’s  Alonso which without doubt rattled every tooth in his head.

De Jong went so far as to admit after the game that he was expecting a red card, and felt lucky he only got yellow. The entire match was studded with brutal fouls and in my opinion, at least two Dutch players deserved the red card. Not that Spain was innocent, but when you consider the ‘clean’ way they played their previous matches, including against Germany, I think it was more a reaction to the Dutch style of play.

Disgraceful conduct

A look at the total fouls committed during the tournament will show the Dutch Team with 126 fouls, and the nearest anyone came was Uruguay with 99 fouls. Spain committed 82 by comparison. The Dutch are well known in football circles for their tactics of shirt pulling and the free use of arms and elbows, all of which was amply demonstrated during yesterday evenings match. At every referee decision, a group of Dutch players surrounded the referee arguing, not a pretty sight and some should have been sent off.

News reports quickly came in of disgruntled fans rioting in Den Hague after the match, of course, blaming the referee. Some Dutch papers did admit that Spain were the better side, but there were still others who blamed the defeat on the referee. Sour grapes!!

A Losing Manager’s Fury

It did not take long after the final whistle before the Dutch coach and players started venting their anger at losing against the referee Howard Webb. The man is respected in football circles, and as one commentator has already said, he was reluctant to send-off a player during such an important game. The Dutch took full advantage of this.

I do not wish to put all the blame for the bad pitch behaviour on the Dutch, but they were without doubt the instigators and reaped only what they sowed. It was an exciting game, but spoiled for me by the poor standards of real football throughout the entire game. This is not how the game is supposed to be played.

I have always held fast on one golden rule when I watch sport; May the best man/team win, and last night they did. If the Dutch had been lucky enough to get the goal it would have been a travesty of justice.

Finally, I have a message for the Holland team and managers: If you can’t play a FAIR game of football, get out of the game, for at the moment you are a disgrace.


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