World Cup Final Reflections
I was disappointed in the way the Netherlands played the final yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, there were flashes of brilliance by the talented Oranje. Nevertheless the free-flowing Total Football was showcased not by the Dutch, but by the Kruyff-influenced Spanish side. The Dutch seemed intent on fouling their way to a World Cup victory, with the Spaniards content to take advantage of this aggressive intensity to rival Robben and the great Ronaldo for theatrical diving.
I think the Netherlands had the capacity to play a smoother more beautiful game of soccer, but they cared more about winning by any means necessary than by wowing the world with their undeniable talent. This game will never be sold to new fans if the final is just a contest between mixed martial arts and community theatre. For me, the Dutch side that was eliminated in shoot-outs against Brazil in ’98 played a better brand of football. The Dutch side that shocked the world with their one-sided victories against France and Italy during last Eurocup is what I wanted to see this year. In South Africa, I never saw a full game of the beautiful free-flowing soccer that I have come to love and expect from this team. A team with such a rich legacy should have showed the world that they were made of better stuff than this.
Don’t get me wrong, this team was talented, they played with heart, and they had more than enough inspiring plays. This was a united team who had a remarkable run of fourteen victories, and who made it to the final despite all of the nay-sayers. With all respect to Van Marwijk’s grand accomplishment, I say that they should bring in Kruyff or Hiddink.
Yes, Hiddink, I forgive you for coaching Russia to victory over the Dutch in ’08.
But how can I argue with Van Marwijk’s success? Success, for me, would be a return to the beautiful game with continuing contention for years to come. Maybe it's just me though.
Hup, Holland, hup!