With Spain facing three-time champions Germany in the second World Cup semifinal, Dutch fans celebrating in Amsterdam last night are making no secret of who they want to face in the final on July 11. [ad#as3]
As the Netherlands completed a 3-2 victory over Uruguay to book a place in their first World Cup final since 1978, Spain and Germany prepare to meet in a repeat of the 2008 European Championships final for the right to meet them.
While Spain may have the best players and go into the match as slight favourites, the Germans have set the World Cup alight with comprehensive victories over England and Argentina in the knock-out rounds.
And listening to just some of the thousands of Orange fans dancing in their nation’s capital, on the streets in Cape Town, or even in the bars of London, there’s no contest when it comes to which team they’d rather face in the final – and this one’s personal.
“Revenge for 1974,” shouted some, “We want to beat the Germans 3-0 in the final,” said others, leaving us in no doubt the Dutch are backing Joachim Low’s men tonight.
Many of those who remember the defeat at the hands of West Germany in the 1974 final in Munich are still bitter at the controversial penalty that gave the hosts a chance to get back into the match after the Dutch – together with Johan Cruyff and their famous brand of ‘Total Football’ – scored from the spot in the opening minute. The Germans went on to win 2-1 to claim their second title.
The Dutch gained some revenge in 1988, with Ruud Gullit, Marco Van Basten and Frank Rijkaard leading the Netherlands to victory over the Germans en route to the European Championship crown. After that win, the fans danced in the streets claiming they had their bikes back in reference to the Second World War when the Nazis occupied Holland and confiscated their bicycles.
In 1990, the Dutch and Germans met again in the Italia World Cup in a bad tempered affair that saw Rijkaard spitting at Rudi Voeller as they left the pitch following red cards. The German press nicknamed Rijkaard “Llama” for his spitting.
So while Spain play a type of football that has many wanting to see them in the final, it would certainly make for interesting times in Holland and South Africa should the Germans overcome them tonight.