Over the past month or so, you’ve probably noticed supermarkets like Albert Heijn slowly turning orange. Orange icing on cakes, orange packaging, and orange capes on your Heineken six-pack. Why? Well, the European Championship of course!
“Orange fever” will be a primary feature of life in the Netherlands for the next month. So, gather all the orange freebies you can and grab your beer, because we’ll be following the Dutch national team and orange madness!
READ MORE | Why do the Netherlands love orange? The full explainer
European Championships: the basics
Like most events we’ve been looking forward to, the European Championship was delayed a full year due to coronavirus. However, with vaccines rolling out across most of Europe, football fans can finally rejoice! 🏆
Though confusingly still called Euro 2020 at times, you can count on watching the first match of the European Championship between Turkey and Italy tonight. Everything will kick off at 9 PM in Rome.
Over the next month, a total of 51 matches will be played. Of these, 36 will be in the group stage and 15 in the knockout stage, leading up to the final on July 11.
Tip: The championship will be played in 11 different cities across Europe. So, if you miss travelling then just stay tuned. Fans will line up in the stadiums of Rome, Amsterdam, Budapest, Baku, Copenhagen, Bucharest, Saint Petersburg, Munich, Glasgow, Seville and London.
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) wanted host countries to guarantee fan access to the stadiums. Because of this, Bilbao and Dublin had to withdraw as host cities.
Cue VIVAAAA HOLLANDIA! The Dutch national team (nicknamed Oranje) will play their first game in the Johan Cruiijff Arena in Amsterdam this Sunday.
Playing against Ukraine, you can follow the first Dutch match along with 16,000 fans in the arena (operating at about 33% of stadium capacity). It will also, of course, be on everyones’ screens at 9 PM. For now and because of coronavirus, big screens outside at terraces and squares are still a no-go.
Oranje will also play two other matches on the group stage, both of which take place at home in the Johan Cruijff Arena. On Thursday, June 17 you can watch them play Austria at 9 PM and on Monday, June 21, they’ll be playing North Macedonia at 6 PM.
The Johan Cruijff Arena, like all other host stadiums, has taken the necessary health measures to make it a safe experience for all.
The NOS is the official Dutch broadcasting partner of the Euro 2020, so you can follow every match via television, radio, or online coverage. You can watch daily matches on NPO 1 or via live stream on its website or app, reports the NOS.
Whether you are following Oranje from the bleachers or from your screen at home, the most important thing is to embrace the “orange fever!” Raise a beer to the quirks of the loud Dutchie fans!
Orange Fever running high again (but expectations are, meh)
It’s been a while since the Dutch played in a tournament. After a lacklustre performance, Dutchies missed out on the EC of 2016 and the World Cup of 2018. Everybody was looking forward to the EC in 2020, only for it to be shut down and postponed till the summer of 2021 because of coronavirus.
Since the lockdown more or less has just ended in the Netherlands, everybody is looking forward to a carefree summer. This is kicked off by the good old oranjegevoel (orange feeling) making a comeback — and we for one are all about catching that orange fever!
Not the best ‘Oranje’ ever
Purely looking at football though, nobody is counting on the Dutch to snatch the cup this year. Star player and Oranje captain Virgil van Dijk — widely considered the best defender in the world — is missing out on this tournament because of an injury. Players De Ligt and De Vrij are no slouches and Wijnaldum, Frenkie de Jong, and Memphis Depay are also top players. But that’s more or less it. The remaining Dutch players are unfortunately not in the same league as the top players of France or Belgium.
But the main reason for the lack of stellar expectations is the somewhat clumsy practice campaign of Oranje. There’s a lot of criticism of national coach Frank de Boer’s choices for the Dutch selection. Apparently, his choice to quickly integrate a new 5-3-2 system instead of the quintessentially Dutch’ system of 4-3-3 isn’t popular.
There’s also been a number of small incidents signalling a lack of authority by De Boer. For instance, first goalie Cillessen is not on the team because of a positive covid-test a week or two ago. There was an open squabble in the media when De Boer announced Cillessen wasn’t on the team after all.
But like the Dutch saying: de bal is rond — anything can happen! We hope you enjoy the “orange fever”!
Who will you be cheering for at the European Championship? What’s your craziest experience with ‘orange fever”? Tell us in the comments below!
Feature Image: Corepics/Deposit Photos
Oh yeah, one of the reasons it’s still called UEFA Euro 2020 not 2021, is because by the time they decided to postpone the event, all the merchandise had already been made and those said 2020. And because they didn’t want to waste everything, they decided to keep the name. I like that! ☺️
And yes, I’ve got that orange fever!!! 🥳