Love to be Dutch

Holland out-classed Italy yesterday and I am euphoric. What a match! What a night to be Dutch. The atmosphere in Utrecht was great. From about 19.30 h. the place had come to a standstill. Everyone was inside somewhere getting ready for a memorable night. I was at my designated bar very early. I decided to watch the second half of France-Romania there in anticipation of what was to follow. I could also therefore hold down two or three prime viewing positions for my friends who were to arrive late. hundreds of bright orange men and women came flooding in as I waited for my company. They duely arrived and the party started.

Together we belted out the Wilhelmus and cheered the players and spectaters in the stadium alike. Often when looking at the players faces during the anthems it’s easy to spot who wants to win most. To my surprise, this time it was the men in Orange with that all important spark of desire in the eyes.

As the goals went in, the town and the country went bersirk! We had hoped for a solid performance and at least a point. What we got was a return to the famous ‘Total Football’ of the seventies. It was magical. Every single player did well. Even the much maligned Mattijsen. We saw flashes of brilliant skill and very determined defence. The world champions were be being run ragged.

After the match people piled outside into the warm summer night singing and dancing, honking horns and so forth. The sillyness had reached the ceiling. It was as if Holland had won the tounament eventhough everyone I spoke to also muttered something along the lines of: ‘We still have two more games to play, let’s not get too carried away’.

This will be a hard act to follow, but confidence is sky high in the Netherlands and I imagine it is the same in Bern. I cannot wait for friday. France is next! I don’t care who you are, it’s Oranje or bust!

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