Tuesday, 29 June 2010

200 Words on Slovakia v. Netherlands

Slovakia's win over Italy gave its fans something they had lacked - hope. The outlook of most fans ahead of the Netherlands game was no longer desperate - many acknowledged the strength of their team's opponent, yet had enough courage to ask the "what if?" question. Slovakia's players were on a similar boat - they found courage at the right moment, only to lose it when it mattered the most.

What stroke me about the Dutch was the fact that they were not everything I had expected them to be. Arjen Robben was plainly brilliant, but what/who else was there? Enough to beat Hamšík & co., who did not dare, and hence did not win.

The match resembled Slovakia's group stage encounter with Paraguay - and not only by the timing of the second conceded goal - they could have done so much better. Vittek and Stoch should have exposed the "Emperor's New Clothes", but did not shout "But he isn't wearing anything at all!" when they had a chance to do so...

Slovak fans celebrating their country's exit by chanting "ďakujeme!" [thank you!]

All I wished for was a dignified exit. Retrospectively, a 1:2 loss against one of the tournament's favourites is a success - just ask England or Chile.
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