Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Oranje Crush in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a city that has it all as many of us do know. I came here this trip not for the drugs, not for the sex, heck not even for the beer, but for the Football or as its known back home the soccer. Yesterday got to watch a Netherlands vs Denmark game in Amsterdam with lots of fans dressed in Orange. So far in terms of being in the 2 home nations that i've seen play in person England and the Netherlands, well the Dutch won hands down. Both in terms of attitude and passion of the fans. Whereas in England the backpages of the newspaper all have but promised making the World Cup Final, winning the World Cup, turning Rooney into a player better than Pele, Maradonna, Zidane etc and thus putting all the pressure on the team if they don't exceed beyond expectations. Here in the Netherlands despite my total and utter lack of knowledge of Dutch i surely don't see any headlines about the Dutch winning the world cup. Heck for a team that has been to the final game of the World Cup twice, only to lose they seem to take things day by day.

The game started at 1:30pm local time, it would have been 7:30am back in New York and i know i would have barely been able to get up for the game, much less get to a bar with any sort of atmosphere to watch it. I got seated at the Cinema Cafe outside area on a great closed off street in the RemebrantPlein about 12:30 and watched some of the pre-game, the crowd was thin but then around 1:15pm it seemed that everyone just left from work, home, school whatever they were doing and all showed up on the place. there are at least 15 bars in the area and its closed to cars so a great place to watch and mingle. The bars all had TVs on outside, strangely as is the case with many live sporting events some TVs were a second or so ahead of the others, thankfully i made sure to sit at the one with the exact live feed and not a delay.

The game was rather boring, with the Dutch getting on the board first from an own goal from a Danish defender. He headed the ball away from the goal an it was going wide, but then it hit the back of his teammate and went into the goal. It was bad luck, but a great play by a Dutch player to even keep the play alive and make the cross into the 6 yard box. The second Dutch goal was a bit better with the intital shot coming off the goalpost and then Duyt Kuyt finishing off easily from a few yards out. The Dutch seemed to dominate the game to me with most of the possession and scoring chances. Denmark had one decent chance early in the game but my Arsenal man Bendtner as usual missed an easy header from a few yards out.

The atmosphere after the game was great, despite seeing one dutch fan and bartender get into a fight. Not sure the cause of the fight but the bartender won as he flung a whole tray of just washed glasses at the fan and when the fan was outside he was cut up and pretty bloody. The cops came and unlike NYC didn't drag both people away to jail, just seemed to separate and calm things down. Just goes to show you that in Amsterdam its laid back and anything goes just fine.

Later today i'm probably going to try to get to Amsterdam Stadium and the FC Ajax tour and do the stadium tour. Hope to learn a bit about the legendary Dutch team and their glory. I had a blast after the game talking to fully decked out Oranje fans about their team, past players, other teams, the Dutch legends at Arsenal etc. Always enjoyable to talk to knowledgeable footie fans anywhere in the world.


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