July 12, 2010


Total Football marred by thuggery (Richard Jolly, July 12. 2010, The National)

Operation Stop Spain did not contain the element of surprise. The pre-match comments from the Dutch camp indicated a gameplan based on a determination to disrupt. Deprive Spain of rhythm, the theory seemed to go, and it would be like denying them oxygen.

Hassle and harry, rather than being seduced by the Spanish ploy of perpetual passing, appeared Bert van Marwijk’s instructions. But the disappointment was the undercurrent of thuggery it contained.

This was not the beautiful game. A showpiece was turned into an unedifying exercise as Holland went from “Total Football” to anti-football in 36 years. In 1974, the Dutch endeared themselves. This served to alienate them. [...]

Winning ugly used to be anathema to Holland. It is not now. But they lost ugly, minus silverware and plaudits alike. There was no chance of the sort of moral victory that has been the preserve of past Dutch teams.

Holland and Spain's anti-football lets Europe down: We expected a classic clash of philosophies, but Holland and Spain's negativity was not a fitting end to a World Cup (Richard Williams, 7/12/10, The Guardian)
No more all-European finals, thank you very much. The one four years ago that ended with Zinedine Zidane's head-butt and a penalty shoot-out was bad enough. But no one seriously expected a classic in Berlin that day. Last night's match was supposed to be a fascinating contest of stylistic nuances, a collision of rival philosophies featuring some of the finest attacking talents in the modern game. But as we had to wait until deep in extra time for Andrés Iniesta's goal, 84,000 people in the stadium and a reputed 700 million television spectators were left wondering when the football was going to start.

Didn't someone tell the players that Nelson Mandela was in the house, never mind Shakira, Charlize Theron and 16 heads of state? Football is about 22 men in search of a result, nothing more and nothing less, but a little entertainment never goes amiss.

The previous night's third-place play-off had produced a match far worthier to be called a final. Germany and Uruguay, in a fixture popularly supposed to exist only to make a bit more money for the organisers, both went for victory from start to finish in what was very probably the best of the tournament's 64 games.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 12, 2010 5:36 AM
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