Friday, June 13, 2008

Totally dude

Commenting on Holland's "total football" in the 1970s during Friday's Netherlands/France game, an ESPN announcer Andy Gray said it was difficult to identify just what the system was, aside from a bunch of great players.

If that's all it takes than the "total" is back, because the Dutch side is chock-full of talent and they're all displaying it. To wit — 3-0 against Italy, followed by Friday's 4-1 defeat of France.

This Dutch were again entertaining as hell, but this game was a bit crazier. After going up 1-0 early off a header by my boy and Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt, France seemed to take over. Despite their great offense the Dutch defense has been loose at best (aside from great goalkeeping from Manchester United's Edwin van der Sar), and French goals seemed imminent.

But while most coaches would start bolstering the defense and push for conservative play at this point, the Netherlands' Marco Van Basten instead substituted the offensive-minded midfielder Arjen Robben and forward Robin van Persie so as to put the pressure back on the French (while holding a 1-0 lead mind you), and the duo quickly teamed on a van Persie goal. Amazing stuff.

The Netherlands went all out for the win, and my brother commented that's what everyone should be doing. Indeed.

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