11 July 2010

A picture of justice

You know what the best thing about the World Cup is? The best team usually wins the final!

In the NBC photo above, Andres Iniesta is the man in navy blue, celebrating the game-winning goal in extra time of the 2010 World Cup Final.  I don't know who the flustered Dutchman is, and frankly, I don't care.  At the end of 120 minutes, Spain prevailed, 1-0, over the Netherlands.  ¡Viva la Fúria Roja!  All hail Spain!

Much will be made of the lack of scoring from the new champions.  La Fúria only scored eight goals in their seven matches, and they even opened with a 1-0 loss to the Swiss.  They didn't have the best defense in South Africa (that would be Paraguay, Spain's quarterfinal victim), but it was more than good enough to frustrate the field.

As for the Oranje:  they have turned out to be world soccer's answer to the Pat Riley Knicks.  Let me explain.  Back in the 1990s, having taken over the ailing NBA team in New York City, Riley realized that (a) while he had talent, he didn't have enough to overcome the Jordan-Jackson Bulls and (b) Knicks management would never give him enough.  His answer?  Turn the Knicks into a team so physical, it could just bully its way into the NBA Finals.  At that, he succeeded -- but in the process, he literally set the entire Eastern Conference back a decade.

I think that's what happened to Holland this weekend.  Seeing no hope of overcoming Spain's superior personnel, Dutch coach Dirk van Marwijk had his players turn violent, collecting yellow cards and pulling crap like the assault at the right.  In this picture from ABC, Nigel de Jong delivers a flying kick to the chest of Spain's Xabi Alonso.  (I'm not exaggerating; it was a flying kick straight from a martial-arts movie.)  For that crime, de Jong got only a yellow card instead of the red that should've been handed him.

The word "crime" pretty much describes the Dutch effort today, including their complaints about the officiating.  Excuse me?  You guys turn the World Cup final into a bad MMA fight, and then turn around cry about anything?  Here's hoping that doesn't fly any higher in the Netherlands that it is anywhere else.

Ian Darke, I take back some of my screed against you yesterday.  The real disgrace was the Oranje today.  I'm so glad they lost, Scooter can hear me purr.

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