Posts Tagged ‘Spain’

Our Opponents: Spain

I don’t really have much to say.  I considered not posting a preview at all because to be honest I’ve tried to avoid thinking about this game at all.  I hate and I love these games at the same time.  I would never miss it but at times I can’t bare to watch.

I’m afraid to feel confidence.  The last time a team of mine went into a match against a quality team and I was confident Barcelona beat Manchester United 2-0 in the Champions League final.  United’s performance was insipid; Barcelona were inspired.

To win would be life changing.  The line-ups and tactics seem strikingly similar to the Brazil game.  Regardless of how this game goes over its life if the result is the same I will be a happy man.

I can only imagine what it would be like to see the Dutch win the World Cup in my lifetime.



An Open Letter to Johan Cruyff

Dear Mr. Cruyff,

You have given us some of the greatest gifts a football can offer.  You created an almost otherworldly way of playing football that included revolutionary changes for players and teams alike.  Because you gave your country and the world these gifts, you are loved not only as a player but as a person who dreams for perfect and beautiful football. 

The last time our football team reached the World Cup Final game was thirty-two years ago.  I have never experienced an event like this and the thought of the Netherlands winning the World cup in my lifetime brings tears to my eyes.  Having seen the acheivements of the teams created by you in the 1970s I having always dreamed of this day and I can hardly believe it’s happening.

As your fans and as supporters of the Oranje we have been crushed by your support for Spain.  When you, our hero and talismanic chieftain, complement our opponents instead of the Oranje ahead of the most significant match in football it’s hard not to feel betrayed.

All who know you are familiar with how you love to see football played; indeed there isn’t anyone who disagrees with your ideal for beautiful football.  Not every squad is able to achieve this very high level of play and some concessions must be made in the interest of having a functional team.  In this case our Oranje team have been very successful playing a simpler and more defensive form of football.  Perhaps it’s their success without your formula that is troubling to you.  Yours ideals are the same ideals engrained in all Dutch supporters; we all yearn for that same type of football.  I assure you this success without the traditional Dutch style of play is in no way an indictment of your feelings or beliefs. 

To support another country is as near to betrayal as a cultural icon like yourself can come.  Recently in Barcelona the new club president removed you from your honorary post within the illustrious club.  I would be heart-broken if the motivation behind your comments was in part an effort to regain that post for Barcelona.  We share your history and hopes.  We shared your joy in Germany when the world was electrified by what they saw and your heartbreak in the final.  We are all united in the path we’ve walked together.

I implore you to support the Oranje; support that same shirt that you wore in 1974.  As supporters we look to you as our Oranje captain.  These Oranje players representing your country have blossomed within the footballing legacy created by you.  Do not desert us now in our moment of pregnant potential! 

Respectfully yours,

Michael de Vries

***I have attempted to send this letter to Johan Cruyff via the email addresses found on his foundation website as well as his personal website.  A response is not expected.***

If the World Cup Were Now…

It’s Monday and we’ve all just barely made it through the day. I was thinking that things tend to change drastically between the end of World Cup Qualifying and the start of the tournament proper.  I’ve just included Europe for funzies.

So I thought why not put my Excel skills to work and find out where everyone stands at this point. Each team is in their own group and its hard to compare side by side. I’ve decided to look at two things only: the average number of points per game and the goal difference(goals conceded subracted from goals scored) per game. Simple right? Yes and just scientific enough to be worth a look.

I’ve sorted by points per game first and then by the average goal difference:

  Team Pts/Game GD/Game
1 England



2 Spain



3 Netherlands



4 Germany



5 Russia



6 Italy



7 Slovakia



8 Serbia



9 Denmark



10 Switzerland



Pretty interesting isn’t it?  England are top of the “World Cup Table”!  England, Spain and the Netherlands are all tied on points from their perfect results so far.  The Dutch are actually 4th in terms of Goal Difference per game with is interesting since they’ve been among the tightest defensively and somewhat conservative going forward.

Russia are the only team in the top 10 who are currently 2nd in their group.  Switzerland are also showing signs of improvement sneaking in at number 10.

Do we really think England will win the World Cup?  Well no because this doesn’t include Brazil at all does it?  What this table also doesn’t include is the mental strength of each team, intra-team bickering, individual mental breakdowns or other teams cheating (lets be honest).

In the end this all means nothing because Germany and Brazil will likely knock out all of the interesting teams.  At least we can hope the boring teams from everywhere except South American and Europe get knocked early and Spain and the Netherlands play some attractive football before succumbing to their old habits.