Football fans across the world have tonight had their beautiful game rescued from the grips of arguably, the most boring team in World football.
When we saw the list of games that began the World Cup, we as fans were drawn to tonight’s game between Holland and Spain, but how many of us when we saw the fixture, then looked downcast at the prospect of ninety minutes of what some commentators have labelled “ticky tack” football, the sort where an attack happens after 365 passes? The sort where only one team touches the ball?
If there has been anything that has been excessively boring for football fans to watch over recent years, it has been the Spanish team’s insistence in playing this slow paced, don’t let them have the ball, type of football. When there has been an attack, they have been good to watch but on most occasions, apart from their drubbing by Brazil in the Confederations Cup Final last year, there has not been much to praise them for. Yes they won. Yes they were successful, but ultimately, were they entertaining, especially when one considers the cost of going to an international game these days? Possibly not!
And then, on Friday 13th June, under the full moon, as if we are superstitious at all, along came Messrs Van Persie, Robben and Van Gaal, to give us a ninety minute master class in how to defeat this boring kind of football. Robin Van Persie’s wonder goal will no doubt go down in World Cup folklore, akin to those of Pele in decades gone by. Robben’s run from before the half way line and subsequent goal that followed likewise, will reign as one of the solo specials, but for the fans who saw the match, what is left is a parade of how to play against such dull tactics as shown by Spain over the years.
And as for Louis Van Gaal, what can one say? Rumours abounded before the tournament began that this is not the strongest Dutch side, but on today’s showing, can we see anyone to beat them? Brazil won but not handsomely. Mexico likewise. England will follow against Italy tomorrow we hope. But will we see anything so good as what we had the privilege to observe tonight? Possibly not!
It was that good that my former employer wrote on his Facebook page the words, “I am Dutch. It is official.” Let’s just hope that this World Cup continues as it has started, in spectacular fashion. If this is what the future holds for world football, then let’s wholeheartedly embrace it, for as the old ad said, the future is bright. The future is Orange!