Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Netherlands and their totaalvoetbal

Aside from the whole wooden shoes thing the Netherlands seems like a pretty cool place. They've got a remarkably easygoing attitude considering most of their country will be flooded once the glaciers melt. I mean, they don't even really care what you call them. Netherlands, Holland, the Dutch? No biggie.

Since I started following soccer I always seemed to gravitate to them because of their sweet looking orange uniforms and reputation for their entertaining style. They are credited with popularizing the "Total Football" concept where the players' positions are fluid. Everyone has to know how to defend, attack, hold, or whatever which frees players to improvise and attack...or something like that.

All I know is that this Dutch team playing in Europe '08 is ridiculously fun to watch. This is the team that could get just about anyone into soccer. In their first two matches they've whipped Italy and France (the final two in World Cup '06) by 3-0 and 4-1 scorelines and scored some ridiculous goals.

Here's an entertaining one featuring a nice save from van Nistelrooy. And then goals like this are why the Dutch rule so much. Up 3-1, already into injury time most teams would be content to run out the clock but they're all like "fuck it, we'll blast a curve over your head from outside the box." Here's Robben scoring from a ridiculous angle to make it 3-1. What was great is that after going up 1-0 they subbed in two offensive players instead of defensive ones as almost every other team would do and it paid off as both of them scored.

I'll throw up some from the Italy game too. I love watching them get down the field and send it home in the blink of an eye. I'm in awe of their ability to send a cross all that way, right to Kuyt's head, then one bounce to Sneijder's foot a tap into the goal. Then there's this sequence that left the announcer laughing maniacally in delight.

So, here's to you, Oranje. I hope you can keep it up and definitely hope you don't get shut down by some team that bunkers down hoping for the 0-0 draw and penalty kicks. They're worth checking out (although the match against Romania might not be as good since they attack about twice a game and the Dutch have already won their group) especially if they get matched up with Spain or Portugal down the road.

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Blogger Paul Hattan said...


12:37 PM  

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