‘Dutch pride’ said the headline of a big Canadian newspaper last week, when the Dutch women arrived in Canada for the upcoming World Cup (WC). It seems like the Canadians are hugely excited for this event, at least much more than the Dutchies. I mean, I haven’t seen such headlines in Dutch newspapers this week, even though it’s the first WC ever where the Dutch women are present. It doesn’t seem to concern most of the Dutch people, which are the same people that walked with carrots in their ears when the Dutch men played at the WC last year. That’s why I take the responsibility to warm all these people up, and others who are interested, and introduce them to the hottest ins and outs of the Dutch team. Because everyone knows that ‘the more you know about something, the more enthusiastic you’ll get’. The same goes for the development of nuclear weapons by the way, but let’s stay with football for now. I hope this introduction will learn you some vital facts and figures for the upcoming Dutch matches and hopefully that will make you cheer like you have never cheered before for a Dutch team, even though they play all of their games at abominable times.
Typical Dutch: The ‘carrot fan’
Our chances, our stars and other interesting observations from a (male) football minded person
Our chances: The last time the Dutch played on a final tournament, at the European Championship of 2013, we lost all our games in the group stage and we didn’t even manage to score a goal. That was of course a huge deception, which sets the bar really low for the expectations at this tournament. In this group stage we play against Canada, New Zealand and China. The Canadians play for their home crowd and made it for the sixth time in a row to the World Cup finals. They are also higher ranked at the FIFA-list, that is 8th, where we are 12th. Therefore Canada seems to be a tough nut to crack, but that doesn’t mean we can’t go through as the second seeded in the group. At least, New Zealand and China are below us at the FIFA ranking, respectively 16th and 17th, so it would be more plausible if we get our points against them.
But of course football is not played on paper, certainly not on FIFA-paper (because everything they do is questionable nowadays), and therefore it seems to be 50/50 if we’ll make it through to the next round. If that’s the case, it’ll be a successful tournament already, although the Dutch team seem to think themselves that they can win the tournament (which they won’t). At least, the astro turf, will be in our advantage, as the players told to the press, because they want to play according to the typical ‘Hollandse school’ in which a smooth field is really important. For those who are not familiar with this phenomenon, I’ll explain. The ‘Hollandse school’ is our own Dutch gospel of how football should be played (technical, creative, passing-game and no long balls), and which we have evangelized for the past few decades. It’s actually our last straw of pride and authority in a world, where Dutch teams and national squads are falling behind very rapidly, against the big money and the more modernized styles of play which brings home the real prices nowadays.
Promo for the upcoming World Cup for Women
Our stars: The most famous Dutch famous player for a couple of years was Anouk Hoogendijk, and it wasn’t only for her football skills. Let’s say, particularly not. But, I’m not judgemental about that, because I’m not famous for my football skills either …………….. although that might be a bad example. Anyway, she was an important role model who popularized football for girls in the Netherlands, and therefore I’m very grateful. Because of such examples we now have real football players with real football skills, like the true star of our team, Vivianne Miedema. She is only 18-years old, scored 19 times in 21 games for the national squad, and already plays at Bayern Munich. Certainly the two goals against Italy in the decisive play-off were truly great goals. So, even if we lose all our games, we’ll certainly score a goal with such a striker.
Miedema is even compared to her Dutch male counterpart Bayern Munich, Arjen Robben, although she doesn’t want to hear that. (Interesting analogue observation: I’m actually always compared to Tom van der Neut of FC Lienden, because he couln’t get his professional football career from the ground either). Of course Robben is a winger, and Miedema a striker. Robben is much faster and Miedema is not so often injured as Robben. Robben is a leftie and Miedema uses both legs. Arjen is bold and Miedema is blond (which is almost equal if you hustle the letters). But besides all these differences, they are actually really similar, which brings me to the next interesting point.
‘Goalgetter’ Miedema’s important goals against Italy which brought us to the World Cup
Other interesting observations: Should you compare female football players to male football players? This is one of the questions mostly asked when talking about female football. I have actually no idea. They lack of course the physical skills of men, but are certainly more disciplined in defending, are not as spoiled as some male top players and they barely complain to referees. But what I do know about female football is that it’s the fastest growing sport in our country and that the emancipation in this male dominated bastion is going faster than ever. Of course, they don’t earn as much as their male counterparts, but at least they are not marked as ‘unesthetic’ anymore, which they actually were in the 60’s by the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB). The first of them were even called the ‘wild ones’, because they were not officially licensed by the KNVB to play football.
In that respect, they’ve come along way, but they still need to work part-time next to their football career to get by. I mean, they shouldn’t have to earn such ridiculous salaries as the men, but there’s nothing wrong with making a reasonable living as a woman out of football. Come on, we should fight for that. I mean, ‘football is war’, right? We don’t really have to kill people for that, but at least we can watch the game at Saturday night at 3.00 am. That’ll help a bit. It’s even covered for the first time live by Dutch television and there will be 50.000 fans in the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. I mean, it’s huge it’s ‘hip’, so why shouldn’t we all just go with the orange flow. Right, that’s what I’m talking about. Let’s all cheer for orange. ‘Let’s Go Orange Lions, Let’s Go!’. Just practice a bit, and you’ll be fine. And for now, I wish you very much fun while watching. And if not, I wish you all a very nice weekend.