Timing is everything and so as soon as the referee halted proceedings in Natal I was hot-footing it up Borough High Street with a San Miguel in one hand and a Heineken in the other. This one would be a difficult one to call both on pitch and on my sofa. The first clash of the titans. To me, it would all come down to the socks, and I have to say, Spain were the pre-match favourites in terms of lower leg wear but were torn to shreds in a second half when the rain fell and the Heineken kept its head right to the bottom of the glass.
1. Change kits – Spain – Red, Netherlands – Orange…kit clash. But why do they both have to play in their away kits? What is wrong with Spain in white, Netherlands in Orange? Or Spain in Red, Netherlands in Blue….Or is it blue? My daughter Lolly says it is “Hard Lilac”. All those Dutch fans in the crowd who had bought up every orange item in every shop in Brazil and the team can’t even be bothered to wear their proper kit.
2. Arjen Robben – Unbelievable he is only 30 years old. He seems to have looked near retirement for a decade. He is either having a tantrum or is the best player in the world. Tonight he was like a petulant child for 50 minutes and then BOSH…the best player in the world. Granted Casillas was having a Robert Green Day but even so…still didn’t see many of his team mates celebrate the first with him…Far too many tantrums in big games – you can see when he retires he will be trying to blag his way into restaraunts with a “Don’t you know I once scored two goals against the World Champions?” A great player when he can be bothered, but some of the time he just seems to piss off his team mates.
3. Assistant to the Assistant referee – A brief glimpse of the Spanish bench and you had Vincente del Bosque and Jose Antonio Grande looking very smart in their white shirts and red ties. But next to them they appear to have two referees. That’s just cheating. No wonder they are World Champions.
4. Brilliant head gear – Alonso steps up, slots it into the corner of the net and immediately runs over to celebrate with three chaps in the crowd, face painted, wearing hats made of a green cardboard square with two little goals on and a little bull on the top with a ball. Pure class from the Spanish proving you don’t have to be young, female and just wearing bodypaint to get on TV. However, the Dutch response of the chaps wearing Orange airline pilot outfits restored the equilibrium in terms of strange outfits.
5. Blue Transit van – At the end to the right there was a blue transit van parked at an angle in the gap between the stands. It could have been an ambulance but it didn’t have any windows or lights. So perhaps it was just the builders van, still there waiting for the tarmac on the drive to dry. Can’t believe that a sponsor somewhere hadn’t whacked a logo on it.
Beer World Cup
A real humdinger with a final sip win for the Dutch after the Spanish had taken a first half pint lead but were ultimately thrashed by the Dutch brew that kept its head (to seal in the freshness the Heineken master brewer once told me) until the final whistle.
San Miguel 2 Heineken 3