FLYING DUTCHMAN KANKA - Top o' the Morning to Ye! And what a good morning it is indeed, after a historic win by "LARANJA MECÂNICA" over the "DIVINE CANARIES."
With respect to the teams of Uruguay and Ghana but the "real" semi-final has been played! On average 7 million Dutchmen watched the Netherlands v Brazil in front of their television at home. During the game the number of viewers climbed to 8.2 million in the final seconds of the match.
8.2 million plus eight. Eight "token Dutchmen" came and joined me at the Crossroads pub to watch the match last afternoon/evening. Their names: Bill, Jim, Chris (extra points for the orange shirt), Matthew, Annie, Dan, Glauber and Mark. After having sworn them in as true 'Orange men' and having taught them the first verse of the Dutch national anthem we were ready for the match. ;-)
Not a blow-by-blow match report by me but rather a photo of a moment that occurred in the first half and, apart from the goals naturally, has stuck in my mind. We see a bad-tempered Robinho protesting against Mark van Bommel. The Dutch captain does not flinch and for me illustrates the calmness and resolve this current Dutch squad has during this World Cup campaign – Holland currently 24 games unbeaten.
I'd like to finish with an audio clip (geluidsfragment) of a well-known Dutch radio commentator. I remember for the last 20 years, if not longer, everyone in the Netherlands turning off the sound of their television sets during a Holland match and instead turning on the radio to listen to Jack van Gelder. The fragment is of the second goal by Wesley Sneijder (2-1) of which Sneijder, 26, said:
"This was my first header here, I don't think it will happen again, but it was great. The ball slipped on my bald head and went into the net, a great feeling."
† I have included a transcript of the audio clip in the comments.
Photo by REUTERS