Saturday, 14 June 2008


Having just beaten the two World Cup finalists by a combined 7-1, the current Dutch are looking like their glory teams of the 1970s. It's not 'total football', there's more traditional positional discipline, but unlike the Dutch teams of the past decade or so, there's also none of the finger-pointing, Kobe Bryant-style, me-first attitudes that seemed to stymie those teams in the clutch.

The interesting thing about both games is how easy it would have been for either Italy or France to have drawn or even won the game, yet how dominating the Dutch have seemed. Of course France were helped by a German ref who seemed to think this was UFC, not UEFA, and the Makelele was actually Kimbo Slice.

Quite a contrast to the Italy game, where the Swedish ref and his linesman contracted a huge case of Testicular elephantitis and ruled Van Nistlerooy onside for his goal. Correctly of course. If you could play someone offside by leaving the field, you'd do it all the time. And when two teammates collide and one decides to play dead (I read in the Guardian that he was 'obviously injured', except he received no treatment, didn't leave the game, and continued playing, as you'd expect from a soccer player who was in a near-death state moments before, at full speed) it would be harsh to penalise the opponents who are attacking their goal.

Now if the Dutch were Italians, they would go out and lose deliberately to Romania, thus ensuring neither France nor Italy go through to the next round!

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