It’s a very strange thing to be such a Holland fan when I’ve never visited there. I do have a distinctly Dutch last name, but in alot of sense that is it. Except maybe not, because I’ve noticed that alot of Americans of Dutch descent have cultural markers that identify us.
The Netherlands isn’t a big country; I think it’s something like 18 million. Yet few nations have impacted football like they have, and if they’d ever won the World Cup, we might debate Johan Cruyff or Pele as the best players of all time. I have had my Cruyff shirt on quite a bit (with an undershirt, mind you) over the past week.
I just checked a major online Euro sportsbook and they have Spain as a fairly large favorite, which surprises me. I am actually tempted to make my first sports bet ever, but I won’t. It’s almost definitely a good bet, but how painful would it be to pick Holland to win the World Cup before the tourney began and only bet on them in the finals, if they lose? Ouch.
It’s the 3rd final for Holland. The previous two times were 74 and 78, where we lost to the hosts both times. Such is variance, it’s pretty clear both times Holland was the best team. Heck, in 78 Cruyff didn’t even play because he didn’t like Argentina’s dictatorship. Pretty bad decision on his part, of course: if he’d played, highly unlikely that Argentina wins in 78, which definitely could’ve led to a dictatorship collapse earlier.
One thing I don’t see mentioned very often: the Netherlands is currently setting the all-time FIFA record with 14 consecutive wins in official competetions (that is, this World Cup and qualifiers). That speaks to the quality of this Dutch side, doesn’t it?