Monday, July 12, 2010

The Soccer Wars

Holland, the dirtiest team to never win the World Cup.

It was clear what was going on. It was a coaching decision by the Dutchies to break up the Spanish verve by physical brutality. And it worked. By the second half many of the Spanish passes in the midfield were hurried and off target, giveaways they would never had made but for fear of injury. That's not to say they were cowards, but when you have a million euro professional salary there are limits to what you will sacrifice for your country in sport. And the Dutch coach, van Marwijk, knew his man in Webb. Those first two Spanish yellow cards were laughable equalizers for the much more serious Dutch misdemeanours that preceded them in turn.

Von Bommell was disgusting, a devil in orange. De Jong's foul on Alonso will be replayed for years and every controversial red card to come will be compared to the yellow he got.

After the match van Marwijk insisted his players stayed within the law. "It is not our style to commit horrible fouls, it is not our kind of football," he pleaded. He's obviously picking up where Tony Blair left off on Iraq's possession of WMD.

It would have been a scandal if the Dutch had won, but they played with such calculated violence it was a scandal they were there at all. Their defeat looks good on them.

Photograph: Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP


inrepose said...

I agree it was a disgrace. You could hardly call the match a game and not much of a flag for Football on an international level. I have to say I think where the Dutch were brutal, the Spanish were subtle and there were 4 or 5 very key moments for the Dutch that the Spanish dealt with by tricky difficult to spot fouls throughout the game. Could be they were just reacting to the Dutch or it could be the Dutch were more clumsy and were therefore more obvious. The kick to the chest should have been a red card and the game would have at least finished in 90mins with a Spanish win rather than a continued war on the pitch!

Keir said...

I agree with you. Puyol fouled Robben on his second attack on Casillas, but Robben still should have scored anyways (his first miss was unforgivable) and the problem for Webb was that he couldn't call Puyol then because he had already carded him when he shouldn't have in the first 15 minutes of the match.

Then there was that sordid display of three Spanish players diving in succession on the same attack...Fabregas will always be remembered by me for his crappy flop. Arsemal will not miss him too greatly. Iniesta dove with accomplishment from some point in the second half on, but you have to feel he wouldn't have chosen to play that kind of game but for the Dutch tactics.