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Monday, June 26, 2006

Chp 76. Holland Down

Mayday. Mayday. Holland down. Holland down. Holland down.

One of the most exciting matches I’ve ever seen. Ended up in utter disappointment for me but at the same time felt gratified in a strange way for having to witness such a landmark match LIVE at 3 in the morning while there seem to be no life at all from my entire apartment.

Holland has just conceded to Portugal with a marginal 1-0 scoreline. It was the first time during this WC that I actually forced myself to sleep for 2 hours in the evening so that I will be wide awake during the match. It was also the first time since the World Cup kicked off that I switched off my mobile phone during the entire game because I just wanted to concentrate and give my entire thoughts to the match and not text messaging friends all over India discussing about the match.

With the exit of the Netherlands, so ends my campaign too. I am now a pilot without a plane, a Caesar without an army, a George without a jungle, a football fan without a team. Holland still retains the “Best team to have never won the World Cup” title. But mark my words, this particular team is a very young team and they will definitely be back with a bang at World Cup South Africa.

Yellow cards flew everywhere, 16 to be exact. But before that correspondent from the TOI once against blast the referee for "reducing the game to an utter farce", I’d like to show my solidarity with the ref Ivanov that even though it was not a very well umpired match, most of the players do deserve those cards and that there was nothing he could do about those incidents. No I will not blame him for showing 4 red cards. All four players who got their second yellow card bought it upon themselves. Stupid, yes, but nevertheless deserving. There was absolutely no need for Deco to delay the game by holding it, unnecessary of Van Bronckhorst to trip Valente when there were 2 other Dutch defenders behind him while Valente was the only Portuguese around, Costinha’s intentional handball was completely unnecessary and about Boulahrouz’ second yellow, he should have known better not to swing his elbow like that when an opponent is immediately behind him because that is when experienced players especially veterans like Figo would use as an opportunity to get knocked down, and with the recent DeRossi-McBride incident still fresh in the officials’ minds, I wasn’t surprised at all to see the Russian referee Ivanov hand him his second yellow.

Although I felt some of the cautions given out by Ivanov could have been avoided, I felt there were other incidents that really deserved to get penalized but didn't, like Figo's head butt which is a definite direct red card, the flying kunfu kick on Robben's chest inside the Portuguese penalty area, the harsh challenge by Costinha on Ooijer which deserved to be Costinha's second yellow (anyway he got his second yellow later) or the incident where the entire Portuguese bench came rushing out pushing and slapping a dutch player (was it Van Bronckhorst?) around as if he's a rag doll! Comon! The Dutch-Portuguese War need not be revisited again.
Holland with 62% possession, twice as many passes made than Portugal did, twice as many shots taken, just fail to find the back of the net. Cocu’s shot which hit the bar seem to pass on a message that it was just not Holland’s day (I already got a slight feeling that it was not Holland’s day when Harsha announced at the beginning of the broadcast that the match was between Holland and the Netherlands! )

Every molecule, follicle and ventricle within me sat up during the entire game. So many times Holland came close to scoring, so many times the players were on the verge of tearing each other’s throat and so many times the referee had to reach in his pocket to swipe out yet another yellow card. Holland got 7 yellows out of which 4 resulted in 2 reds, and Portugal got 9 freaking yellow cards! The commentator really did find the right words when he said “If Portugal wins, it will be just a pyrrhic victory for Scolari”. Now that Portugal are through to the Quarters, they will be without Deco and Costinha, and C.Ronaldo looks doubtful too from that injury. Even if Holland had equalized and scored again, they will also be without key players in the next round including players who will have to play safe so that they wont miss the next game after that (although they aren’t in a soup as hot as Portugal’s).

My final word is, no matter which team scored more or played better last night, there is just one clear cut winner, and that is England. Lucky bastards.

My 2 pence on a couple of incidents:

About C.Ronaldo’s injury:

Sad but I won’t miss him at all. Because for a defender, there’s no bigger insult than to be beaten by an opponent using fancy moves. Hence defenders are more likely to take out such a person before he can execute such a move. Even other top notch players like the original Ronaldo, Ronaldhino, Zizou etc display fancy moves while attacking, but no one does it as flamboyant as the thick headed C.Ronaldo. He has been criticized many times even by his own teammates that he is a “glory chaser” and a “one man show” incapable of being a team player. To me, I feel the only real contribution he gives to his team (be it Portugal or ManUtd) is being awarded free-kicks for the fouls he receives. A crucial role I agree, but such a person is definitely prone to injury and I’m surprised he hasn’t been taken out earlier. If C.Ronaldo recovers and continues playing like this, all he’s doing is committing professional suicide.

About Figo’s head butt:

Figo Figo Figo. Why why why. You knew so damn well that more than a million eyes were on you, what made you ever head butt Van Bommel? Such a stupid stupid move on your part dear Figo. Ofcourse you were angry and ofcourse your opponents were provoking you and ofcourse Van Bommel’s fall after the contact was a bit overdramatic. But you should have known better that that is what most professionals do. Thrash talk all you want, but the moment you get physical, it’s a completely different ball game. Now with Deco, Costinha and probably C.Ronaldo sidelined for the next game, do you think Portugal can ever beat England if you are disciplined by the FIFA Board for that action? Gawd I hate England, but now I’m starting to hate you more for giving England the window to get through to the Semis!!! Why did you have to physically display your anger on the field? Remember the heated England and Turkey EURO 2004 qualifier match? Ofcourse there was no love lost between the two teams on the field, but they came to a fist fight only in the tunnels far away from the prying eyes of the video cameras.

About Van Nistelrooy not playing:

Feyenoord’s Kuyt displayed a fine piece of playing, but he just couldn’t save the Dutch ship from sinking. With 62% possession and 20 shots taken, it was obvious that Holland’s main problem was with the finishing. At such times, one needs poachers. And who else better to fill that spot than one of the greatest poachers himself, Van Nistelrooy. The score line could have different figures if Nistelrooy was there instead of Kuyt. But ofcourse, the past is past and there’s no point saying one particular strategy would have worked out better, just because another strategy didn’t. Van Basten gambled with the young Kuyt instead of the out-of-form Nistelrooy but unfortunately he couldn’t hit the jackpot.

Gomenasai, Holland, I bid thee sayonara. You tried your best but luck just wasn’t on your side. Cheer up all ye Vans. This Van here is not ashamed of you. Disappointed a bit, but is still proud to know that the Vans can still go the distance. You have done the VAN family proud, brethrens. Kudos.

And with that ends my plan to celebrate Holland’s July 9th victory with a bottle of champagne. I’ve already saved 600 bucks meant for the bottle which I will now spend on something else, like purchase a new Tommy boxer or buy Harsha’s latest book “How to tell the difference between Holland and the Netherlands”.


sowmya said...

why in the gods name did nistelrooy dint play ???? man i m devastated!! F@#$in furious.. tht long ball chance tht kyut missed.. Rudd wld have nailed it.

And to top it all,it was a very rough match, 4 red cards and numerous yellows,felt like I was watchin rugby.

why always neds...????
I hate england!!!I dont think I can ever support them, but maybe I will just support them when they take on portugal. Anyways it doesnt matter anymore.
I totally understand what u mean by not having a team to cheer now, I feel that the cause that I was fighting has been crushed, Now i feel so orphaned in football terms!!!!!!!!!!:-(

Almost Unreal said...

Could watch the match from half time only.

After reading home, I switch on the TV and glad to find the the match was still on. Anyway, I rooted for Portugal and glad to find that Prtugal led the game.

That was one exciting match, I must say. I really wish there ws someone else to watch with as there were sooooo many comments to be given at the heat of the game. All I culd do was kept on SMSing my sis, but with BSNL, she probably receive the messages the next day.

I was shocked to see Figo acted that way too, I wander what waht made him so mad to act that way. Whatever the reason may be, I am on his side :D

I don't link C.Ronaldo either..there's nothing to like about him, he is not even a great palyer and I feel that he is a very short tempered person and bold too.

Just home Portugal do fine in their next match.

And illusionaire, I will be waiting for reviews as I don't have a chance to watch any of the matches now, except on Wednesday

The Real J said...

Awwww pore ole Shags, you barked up the wrong tree. But whaddya expect from a guy who thinks the WC finals last "two Holy months"!! Hyuk don't go get all drama queen abt that Les Bleus will be out on parade tonight but I'm all prepared for them to bow out to the zippier Spaniards...slam bang mucho gracias hombre!

illusionaire said...

@ sow sow: Comon u cant just blame a person for missing a ball and say if the other player was there, he wont miss it. Even nistelrooy cud have missed it too considering his current form.

Ps. Welcome to the "I hate England club". Do check out Flygirl's blog. You will find a lot of "I hate England" stuff there. lolx.

illusionaire said...

@ almost unreal: Feel free to sms me anytime about the matches. I watch all of them, but I don't think I'll be writing the review on my blog about each match. Don't wanna turn my blog into a crazy football fanatic blog :-)

Go to, there's a football review and discussion page there where mizos all over India lash out at each other in support of their respective teams. Really fun.

illusionaire said...

@ the real J: Duh, according to my calendar here in Mumbai, June and July constitute two months. See, this is why I keep telling you to stop using that old prehistoric Mizo calendar back home. People all over the World have now come to accept this Universal calendar consisting of 12 months and you too should keep up with the World :-P

About tonight's match, I am all for France. Vive la francais.. or wateva...

tribalsuperstar said...

... Brazil 1 - 0 to Ghana as for now ... . And yea .. was a real bad for Holland ... truely a Disastrous disappointment.. It was an utter mess all together ... too bad for u team cuz. They did well. But my England's on their way ... dnt think they wld pass em ... But A super Bad for C. Ronaldo ... for some reasons I Felt it .... I consider tat as a not so meaningful challenge for the defender ...

flygirl said...

now i understand your pain ;-) Kind of leaves us back with "second tier" teams to support. Brazil is mine but I actually wanted France to go through the finals now I'm stuffed..

next time, illusionaire, next time....

...the Aussies will TROUNCE everyone :-p

illusionaire said...

@ Tribalsuperstar: At England - Portugal match, I will be cheering out my entire heart for Portugal. Your team sux man.

@ flygirl: Brazil - France, I am all for France. Ps. Brazil has never beaten France in teh WC since 1952! And they arent gonna change that. Totally agree with you on the "rooting for a second tier team" though. Sad...