In the weeks towards the start of the World Cup Football in Brazil I often asked myself if the Spain-Holland game would be a win/win thing for me or a lose/lose situation. Being Dutch and living in Spain it could go both ways of course. I still remember watching the final 4 years ago very well. I was the only guy wearing Orange amidst hundreds of crazy Spaniards in Antequera and came out in one piece. This gave me at least the feeling that nothing bad would happen anyway. I decided however to watch the game here at El Guarda with our Australian, Italian and Dutch guests.
After the game it would have been easy to go to Alcála and take ‘revenge’ for the 2010 defeat. I decided not to do so and keep a bit low profile. The locals that I met over the weekend had a mixed attitude of disbelieve and resignation.
Most newspapers in the kiosks in town splashed on their front pages a photo of Spain’s goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas kneeling with head bowed as Dutch players celebrated after ripping apart the Spanish defence.
Madrid sports daily Marca mourned “a historic catastrophe”, dubbing the Dutch performance “a goal-scoring spree of Biblical proportions”.
With two Euro championships plus the 2010 World Cup title under their belt, expectations for Spain in this competition could not be higher and the response to Friday night’s upset was bitter.
“This is not just any old defeat. It is a historic disaster. There is no precedent of this scale in the history of the World Cup,” Marca wrote.
“Humiliation”, ran the single headline on the front page of general daily El Mundo.
“A ridiculous start,” screamed Barcelona-based daily Sport on its front page.
Barcelona general newspaper El Periodico saw the defending world champions, known as La Roja (=the Reds), as “Red with shame”.
The Spanish press’s only source of consolation was pointing out that Spain lost its first game in that World Cup, to Switzerland. Some thought the defeat marked the end of an era for the world and European champions.
“Spain is like the remains of an empire that knows it is near its end,” wrote noted commentator Joan Maria Battle in Sport.
After last night’s match of Spain against Chile (and Holland versus Australia) it all became easier for me to handle, Spain is out and Holland is through to the knock out phase. No more ambiguous feelings. Angeles came in this morning and mentioned that she and her family want to apply for the Dutch nationality…. I believe it might be a bit premature as my feeling is that last nights game might have been the swan song for the Dutch squad as well. Suerte amigos.