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  1. I understand your point, but i think ‘mediocrity’ is a strong word. The US team is Mediocre. Japan is Mediocre. Oranj maybe underperformed based on expectations (or maybe more accurately, by total salary), but I think reaching the finals is a feat mediocre teams don’t achieve.

  2. @Mark_e_evans Agree that mediocrity is a very strong word here for the Dutch team, but I used it on purpose as figure of speech to bring my point across that only the real winners should get a winner’s treatment. The number 2 (or whatever number Holland would have been) may not really be mediocre, but the team is still not the winner.

  3. They should get a free trip to a anger management consultant, given the nonstop flood of fouls and yellow cards… 🙂

  4. Yes, that annoyed me as well, it’s not good for the sport when they even introduce kung fu kicks to the game. What happened to the Fair Play principle? It’s now all about trying to trick the referee and shouting at him when you think he made the wrong decision. A pity.

  5. We have an infallible oracle and have only used it for World Cup, go figure

  6. I wonder if Paul the Octopus could accurately determine when BP will plug the leak – No one else seems able

  7. I expect it has to do something with the sponsors (538, heineken etc.) but this isnt a problem for other countries either, why Netherlands?

  8. The World Cup is an elimination race, and soccer is a very complex sport, dependent of many different variables. The assumption you make, that if Holland played against Spain in the 1/8 finals it would lose, is therefore wrong. These 1/8 finals are totally different in settings so it would not mean by definition that Spain had won that game at that moment. Also if the game is re-played today, the outcome can be totally different and Holland could have won instead.

    So I believe according the rules of the world cup, a 2nd place is achieved by the Dutch. And the boat tour across the canals is also for me a bit too much, but unless they didn

  9. @Remco I agree that the team deserves some sort of celebration for their achievement, even if it’s just to make the fans happy. What I don’t agree to is when you say that “Holland should not adopt a winning culture as in China”. I think it’s dangerous for a country to be satisfied with second best, especially in the longer run.

    In my opinion Holland used to have a winning culture like China has (and like many other countries still have, such as for example the US), but it’s now moving to one that’s less ambitious. It’s getting to the point that people frown upon others who are successful, mediocrity is becoming the norm. Just look at the Dutch expression “Wie zijn kop boven het maaiveld uitsteekt…”, which translates as “You should not stand out from the crowd, because then …”. Not my cup of tea.

  10. @marc I totaly agree, and i don’t like that expression either. And believe me, 99% of the people in Holland is totally not satisfied with this result.

    Anyway, Holland indeed has not such a performance culture as in China and US. And I agree with you this can be dangerous on the longer run. Without being the best in everything, Holland should at least focus on areas they master and should strive to be best of the world in those focus areas. For sports of course speed skating and football should belong to that focus.

  11. and there is ONE logistic reason is, IF you were here to listen to what the Amsterdam new major said: they were afraid too many people all go to Museumplein, and the boat-trip is to spread the crowd. NOT TO CHEER the losers.

    Perhaps some of Twitters should give REAL tweets?

  12. @cindy And you seriously believe that? There would be other solutions for that, do it in the Amsterdam Arena for example. I think sponsors played a bigger role in this decision. The whole media spectacle makes me laugh.

  13. Here I am shooting from my big, BAD mouth again

    Is winning, or is NO. 1 that important in life?

    How many #1 in this world can do without any help from anybody? Eventhough I achieved many things in life, I NEVER dare to say I achieve them all by myself, without the help of my mother, my family, teachers, friends, colleagues etc. AND I never dare to say I DID IT ALL BY Myself.

    So is the Dutch football team. This team knows and shows they understand what team work is all about. There are so many times the coach said — the team, not just the players, but the driver, the physiotherapist, the chef (yes he is very important to make sure the players have the right diets!) ….

    Yes. Holland is 2nd place. But a counry with only 16 millions people to select from, how much more achievements YOU expect from your OWN-birth country? A country perhaps that have given you MANY great starts as compared to anyone that comes from a lesser country such as China??? — ThE TEAM gave you the start. Not your family, not you alone!!

    Furthermore is, what most people might have ignored is, football is a TEAM performance. Since you are the CEO of many great organizations, I am sure you should know more than anyone else IF there is no team, there is no CEO???

    I was not born in the NL. I became a Dutch citizen via marriage. The more I live in this country, the more I discovered there are so many GREAT things that the DUTCH should take pride in. One of them is their football team. China has 1.6 BILLIONS people, well, where is their national team? Even N. Korea made it to the last 32 teams. Right?

    Team work is what we should encourage AND NOT critized. The boat trip is NOT to celebreate losers. The boat trip is to show how this team has achieved. To give them encouragement to ACHIEVE #1 next time. AND not run away with their tails between their legs. And if you were in Holland, you would here how the Dutch media has never stop emphasize TEAM work.

    TEAM work is the theme of this boat trip … so do the rest of the Dutch nations … we support the Dutch-losers (as you called), because we are part of the team … one of the 16 millions inhabitants of this tiny nation. It is NOT the Dutch national team that is 2nd place, so were we. IF WE DO NOT support them, who would?? We are after all is part of this country?

    Take some pride in your OLD country. There is a saying: IF a person is down, don’t kick him. Give him a helping hand. AND THAT Is what the supports are DOING now — helping the TEAM to get back on their feet, to let them know we are behind them even WHEN they came in 2nd.

    Perhaps you would like to know too, when they went to s. Africa 2 months ago, we expected them to come back within a month. And they stayed till the bitter end. AND if you think the team actually kept the #1 FOR 116 MINUTES and only lost it to the #1 3 minutes before end time, HOW strong is the #1 really?

    The only thing that I am NOT proud of the last match is, the Dutch was a bit to violent.

  14. @cindy I didn’t realize you’re such a big Oranje fan. I have no problem with a celebration because the team did well. But my point is that they should not have given them the cruise that was reserved exclusively for the World Cup winner. I don’t think it motivates anybody to become #1 next time if you even get this winner’s celebration with a #2 position.


  15. I was surprised to read this blog. Especially from somebody who’s lived in holland.Soccer is the number 1 sport in holland. The whole country follows everything about the world cup. Reaching the final was a big achievement. Your statement to be lucky with your opponents is not true. They defeated brazil in the quarter final. Brazil were one of the favorites and number 1 in the fifa world ranking. Second the dutch were unbeaten for 25 games and they were the only one to be undefeated in the tournement until the final. If you would only look at the numbers there would be one team that deserves the world cup and that’s holland. We are proud of the achievement of this team. To be number 2 at the biggest sport tournement in the world is a very big achievement. Which rightly is celebrated by almost 700.000 people. It’s a gift form the public to the players. They did not ask for this celebration, but beacause everybody enjoyed their achievements it is a way of the dutch public to say “thank you” And the feeling the players have experienced today is only a stimulation to achieve ever bigger things. Mark my words this team will achieve great things in the future.

  16. @Jurriaan Once again, it’s not that I don’t want them to have a celebration. If the whole country wants to cheer them (well, actually less than 5% of the population) in Amsterdam, be my guest. But just don’t give them the treatment that was originally reserved for the winners. You can be proud of the team, but had they won you would have been a lot prouder. That’s what the cruise should have been reserved for.

    It feels very awkward and to me it’s a sign of a bigger trend in Holland, a trend towards rewarding less than stellar performances. I guess many Dutch don’t want to see that – or they just don’t care (“Het volk wil brood en spelen” -> “Just give the people food and games and they’re happy”).

  17. 5% of the population goes to Amsterdam for the celebration, that does not mean the rest of us are not showing our interest, does it? Many of us watch it on TV.

    You somehow have the opinion that we, who live in Holland, has less urge to achieve more in life? I think that is a whole lot of pomponess in your attitude. Many great people in this world do not go around SHOWing how great they are, or flaunt their achievements or worth. Perhaps some of us prefer to practice humbleness?

  18. Don’t take it personal Cindy and don’t make it bigger than it really is. You are assuming a lot about what I think, but I am just observing a trend. As you know (you’re probably one of my earliest blog readers and commenters) I like a bit of controversy here sometimes. But I did not realize that combining my criticism with something related to the Oranje team would strike such a nerve with some commenters.

  19. Soccer is emotion as becomes clear from some of the reactions to this blog post. However, what surprises me is the lack of objectivity in the reactions, even after a couple of days. Yes – we made it to the final, but not always because we played so well. This time -perhaps opposed to previous tournaments- we had luck on our side at the right moments. The international press wrote about the Dutch who finally discovered the effective German way of playing soccer. Ironically enough, and I hate to say it, the game of the Germans in some matches reminded me of the style of soccer that made Oranje so famous.

    An interesting fact is that, besides being the new WC, Spain also received the Fair Play award for making the least amount of fouls during the tournament. And guess who made made most fouls…yes the Dutch: 126 fouls in 7 matches. Uruguay, infamous for their rough play, was ranked one place higher above the Netherlands, but did not even come close with 99 fouls. A signature of the roughening of the Dutch society?

    All in all, yes we should be proud on Oranje for having come this far in the tournament and giving us so much joy. The unity in the team seemed better than ever and the oranje atmosphere in The Netherlands was fantastic. For a few weeks, we were living in Oranjeland and this has been noticed all around the world, the best PR we could wish for. For all that, a great party is 100%justified. But the boat ride is meant only for the Champions and I fully agree with Marc that it was a big mistake to include that in the celebrations. It simply sets the wrong example.

    Anyway, I assume we all agree on one thing: let’s fry Paul the Octopus.

    Having made that statement, I now really hope Cindy is not voting Partij voor de Dieren (Dutch political party that supports the well being of animals). Otherwise I’ll be fried…;-)

  20. Ths is my last reponse to this topic.

    Emotion — actually I only watch football during the last few matches of EK, WK and sometime championleaques. I watch football from the point of viewing how a coach manages his team from the perspective of HR. I missed Dutch football from 1988 (after the EK) to 2002 while living in the US. Started again 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010. Since van Marwijk took over I graduatlly saw the players, coaches etc. finally worked cohesievely as a TEAM. There are still a few misses somewhere.

    Football is more than just a sport. It is a team efforts. And it works just like any top, complex organizations where the skills of a TOP HR manager is demanded – from selecting the right mixes of players or support personnels, set goals etc. Communications, openesses, Nothing to do with the technical sides of sport. A football chart (I hope I use the right term) is the same as an organization chart. Each person has a specific task AND yet has to work with the other units to make it works. And that include the supporters and the media. Even the sponsors. Most of all, an effective team spent their energy facing the outside world and not internal fights. That is what we hardly noticed with this team – internal fights.

    Yes. Perhaps the whole ceremony is way too much. But we also have to think about the supporters. Most of them are youth. Their emotions went sky-high during the games. Their disappointments way down in the pit when the Dutch lost at the very end. Just as v. Persei said: it would have been so much easier to accept if the scores were 4-0 for Spain. Then we know we really was not in the same leaque as the Spanish. To go ahead with the ceremony is the best way to let the supporters ‘mourn’ their losses. A good closure. A dream is death but HAS A PROPER burial.

    Do not for one moment to think that the players were having fun and THINK we forgiven them for losing. FOR the players the fact that the supports still came out and say thank you, these are no fools, they understand their roles and responsibilities. You can look at the situation this way — yesterday the football team is our children and the supporters the parents. The whole episode is to show the support and MOTIVATIONS for future achievements.

    Canal trip or no canal trip is really not the issues. To me is just some technical fine print. Is the same as getting married with 2 withnesses or invite the whole village. The focus is is ‘getting married’. The point is to let everyone perform their roles. And I think it was done. AND OF COURSE, there are many who disagreed and I hope there is a way to work that emotions away as well.

    Danny – although I have 12 cats with me presently, I swithed from voting Wilders at the very last moment to give SP a hand. I was hoping for a left wing coalitions. P.vD was not on my list. So you are safe!


  21. My thoughts?

    1. I think holland was playing too hard because they were not “fit” enough on 1800 meters. So everytime when they went for the ball, they were too late and “hit” the opponent

    2. nigel de jong deserved red

    3. in 1974 and other tournaments we had penalties against us which were not always correct.

    4. first time we play a tournament where there were no incidents in the team or between players

    5. holland did very well and it was fun again to see the orange color all over holland…streets were empty during games

    6. we have to be honest and wonder if other teams like brazil maybe didnt prepare either on these heights…

    7. at least we saw fighting spirit where normaly we are always annoyed that our “rich” players lack fighting power

    8. spain also deserved some yellow and at least one red card

    9. soccer is emotion and this final had it all…

    10. this tournament is enough food for thought for the next EuroCup and WorldCup. we now have something too loose again (position) and gain something back (nice soccer)

    ah well, didnt see the canalparade, but fun to see that so many people felt that they wanted to say thanks to the players and the players after a VERY long season still came to Amsterdam and spend again another day with the team instead of going on holiday. most of them need to be back at their team within a week.

    @marc; next time you are in holland, come grab a beer in HAarlem 🙂

  22. Hello, I am a big fan of your blog, your posts are always interesting, as for this one, I think you are a bit harsh ! In Europe there is a ramping morosity and anything to render people’s happy and divert their interests from more important matter is a good trick… “du pain et des jeux” “bread and game” !