Nope. It did not happen. The colors the World would turn into were to be Red and Gold. Not Orange. Heartbreak. Again.
The Dutch with not losing a single game all along the qualification and the finals stumbled where it mattered, forgot to play football, lost against a side which actually played football and ended their campaign in tears. Defeat for the Oranje was all the more harsh as they are now the only team to reach and lose the World Cup final three times. And with Spain leaving the ‘underachievers’ group, they are now sitting there alone. The image of an unconsoleable Wesley Sneijder, denied everything, sitting alone on the grass staring off into space, eyes filled with tears after the loss reflects emotions of Oranje fans around the globe.
The Oranje legions (me included) cried Oranje tears as they faced the all too familiar sense of “so-near-yet-so-far” disappointment again and the wait for a crown goes on. There might not be a team anywhere in the world who have been denied this consistently. Somehow, despite being ranked 4 in the world, the Oranje are rarely classified as favorites. One gets the feeling that is taken that they are almost certain to get unlucky when it matters, all Octopussy aside.
They outplayed everyone who came their way, defeated 5 time champions Brazil after being one down, scored marvelous goals, played some of the best attacking football the World Cup has seen.. Only to see that elusive victory float past them once again, as always. This was the second final decided on a goal in extra time, and incidentally again it was the Dutch who suffered in the first one as well when Argentina scored twice in extra time in ’78.
The dutch were a bundle of nerves, either being too terrified of making a mistake or being haunted by the past. To their credit, the Dutch defense and Stekelenburg limited the Spanish who floundered endless chances, Sneijder, who could have become the player of the tournament, was all but invisible, unable to find his footing. Van Persie continued to disappoint and Kuyt was all at sea. But is was Robben squandered the best chance in the game, one that he would have put in on any other day with eyes shut. The defense seemed to be more interested in kicking the Spanish (who returned the favors wholeheartedly) resulting in a game which looked more like a chinese movie with Tae-kwon-do kicks, mindless challenges and brutal tackles prompting the flurry of cards and countless free-kicks. Then there were the mis-passes and numerous fumbled chances. FIFA did well to appoint a cop as the referee.
Congratulations, Espana! You did well and deserved to earn the title. The Dutch can be content on being the second best side in the world and “The best team never to win a World Cup”. The long due party in Amsterdam has to be put off again, either till Euro 2012 or Brazil 2014.
Waiting. For the World to turn Oranje.
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