Netherlands versus russia

Trip Start Jul 19, 2009
Trip End Oct 25, 2010

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Flag of France  ,
Sunday, June 22, 2008

I'm now watching a football (or soccer) match - a novelty for me but tonight is special. The Dutch team is apparently doing very well in the European or world series. There's a lot of to do about it and we are all officially invited to Bernadette and Jacques'. Other villagers will be there too.
Jacques is nervous and excited, we must arrive in time and shut up once it's started. Hmm. The small room is lined up with chairs, drinks and snacks on the table - a wide screen tv..
This is cosy. Let the night begin!
I'll try and give a blow by blow account of the happening.
It takes a while for me to work out which goal belongs to which team (I daren't ask) but I get it sorted and it looks like the Russians are on the attack.
The Moroccan player Boularouz? gets tackled and needs doctors assistance and as far as I can see nothing much else is happening. Oh, a corner, I think, and it must have been exciting cos everybody's clasping their hands to their mouths, sharp intakes of breath, Jacques has left his chair and is pacing around - he can't stand the tension.
I'm mildly puzzled. I guess it's just not that exciting when you don't know the rules.
Van der Sar, the keeper, catches a ball. What a lovely man.
Come to think of it there are a lot of nice-looking men and boys frolicking around, albeit a bit broad in the face because of the screen.
Van Persie almost takes out someone's eye.
The tribune is a sea of orange.
Hard to concentrate, do all the lads have such big back-sides or is that another optical illusion?
Nah, says Jacques, those are real men, as if that explains anything....
Bit of confusion again after the break, apparently they'd swapped goals and nobody told me.
Oh my goodness, the Russians have scored - now you'll have it!
Well done, anyway - am I allowed to say that?
People seem pretty upset here - the men fall still - not at all happy, specially as we get to see the goal over and over again. The women make conciliatory noises, it's all in the game, there's still time, they really deserved it etc..
The orange painted faces crumble in disbelief, the Russians are over the moon.
They make me laugh, jumping around for joy, bless them, still boys, their mums watching too, must be so proud.
My congratulatory spirit doesn't go down well so I try to be quiet and understand the game.
OK, now someone is sent off, for no reason at all. Oh no, he's being switched. There's a fresh one waiting like a bull rearing to enter the arena. Young lad - can't be more than twelve.
Oops, Heytinga gets bashed on the chin, or maybe he just fell, anyway there's a lot of fuss about closing the wound. I'm told the players are not allowed to bleed but look at them, full of testosterone and aggression, it seems unavoidable. Besides, no-one can tell me why they are not to bleed.
Never mind, Igor Semshov leaves the field. Maybe he's fed up or bored or needs to go. There's a shot of Guus Hiddink, he looks frightening, what's wrong with the man? For heavens sakes I've just heard he makes three million hanging out with these guys - I'd do it for nothing.
Anyway, the Dutch are continuously attacking now, to no avail. Everyone here is moaning. Four and a half minutes to go.
Ha, van Nistelrooy scores. Phew, what a relief.
Hiddink's face is a picture - not a pretty one though.
Jacques, who had given up drinking, get's up and pours himself a large whiskey.
I hadn't stopped drinking but join him all the same.
A couple of minutes are added to the game for some reason or other. A Russian player is told to leave, then it's retracted. I like that when people are big enough to admit a mistake. Anyway, it's the end. They will play for another 2 x 15 minutes once they've caught their breath.
They're back. Extra time, it's called. I'm losing interest. Shoot out would be nice.
The Russians are ferocious but Van der Sar is really good too.
I can make head nor tail of it, the men are panicking, pushing and shoving each other around.
Off side, I hear. That's supposed to be an interesting rule but it does nothing for me.
I'm gonna wrap it up. Second extra bit. Penalty, no, no penalty. Someone went down too easy - now that made me smile. Tarbinski, foul play, he hurt Van der Vaart. Scored a goal while he was at it.
Hiddink euphoric looks even scarier than when unhappy.
Another Russian goal is made. Nobody cares to watch it till the end now, everyone knows it's over.
So does the commentator. He's lamenting about the end of a dream, a terrible blow for the Dutch, sad, but the better team won.
I make myself scarce, sensing I'm not too popular at the moment having made some incredibly stupid remarks and not caring one way or the other anyway.

You know, re-reading this entry I somehow get the distinct feeling I'm not cut out for a career in sport journalism.
What do you think? 
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katherine-anne on

at your service Sportsweek
so there's hope for me yet?
I'm thinking of investing in a season-ticket now.
gee, thanks Alan :)

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