Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Going for gold (or orange)

Going for gold (or orange)

Going for gold (or orange)

The Netherlands and Brazil have a rich history at the World Cup


A Dutch fan (left) cheers on his team clad in orange and holding an orange clog. A Brazil fan (right) sports a yellow T-shirt and Brazil flag. AFP

WITH England failing to qualify for either the 1974 or 1978 finals, the 1970s was the lost decade for English football. Instead of being forced to live England’s every misplaced pass or errant shot, I was able to follow the teams that played the best football.

In those days hair was long, shorts were tight and football was total. Unshackled from defensive duties, full-backs would maraud forwards in wave upon wave of attack upon hapless defenders. The match that always gave me that extra special tingle of anticipation was the Netherlands against Brazil – orange against gold.

Total football may have created highlights, but it did not bring success. Despite being the best footballing team in both 1974 and 1978 tournaments, the Dutch lost both finals. Clearly the most skilful team to grace the golden shirt since Pele’s masters of 1970, the Brazilians of 1982 crashed out to Paolo Rossi’s Italians in the second round.

What the Germans, Italians and Argentineans had that the Brazilians and Dutch did not was quality defenders.

And so the dark cloud of defensive football descended upon the World Cup.

Germany and Argentina shared finals and trophies in 1986 and 1990, but won few friends. The latter final almost descended into anti-football. Brazil was not to taste success again until 1994 when, captained by current coach Dunga, they fully embraced pragmatic football. That year’s final still remains the only one without a regulation time goal in the history of the competition.

The Dutch have yet to win a World Cup.

Thanks to the quarterfinal draw in South Africa, once more orange will battle with gold, and Germany will take on Argentina. The strange twist of fate is that this time the boot is on the other attacking foot.

Despite having produced some of the most beautiful games of football in World Cup history, this afternoon’s clash between Brazil and the Netherlands is likely to be a cagey affair. With the midfield flooded and tempo slow, goals will be at a premium. Both teams have only conceded two so far.

However the following afternoon, Germany against Argentina should be fast and open. Coach Diego Maradonna has shaped a team around his own personality and in Gonzalo Higuain, Carlos Tevez and Lionel Messi, he has the forward power to back up his words. Germany will sit believing that in Mesut Ozil, Thomas Mueller and Lukas Podolski they have the players to hit Argentina on the break as they did to devastating effect against England.

Two fast, skilful, attacking teams meeting head-to-head with a place in the last four at stake, surely enough to whet any football fan’s appetite. Just a pity it’s Argentina versus Germany, rather than orange against gold.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The

  • Gov’t to boost Siem Reap tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism released the results of an inter-ministerial committee meeting concerning Siem Reap province’s Tourism Development Master Plan for 2020-2035 on Wednesday, revealing the government’s plan to improve the overall tourist landscape there. The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism

  • ‘On the offensive’: Cambodia to load up on loans to stimulate economy

    As the dust settles on the economy, Cambodia comes to grips with what needs to be done to turn the economy around, starting with a big shopping list for credit ‘We are going on the offensive,” Vongsey Vissoth, Ministry of Economy and Finance permanent secretary

  • Government set to make up for cancelled April holiday

    The government is set to make up for a five-day Khmer New Year holiday late this month or early next month. The holiday was earlier cancelled due to the onset of Covid-19. The announcement is expected on Friday as the government is studying a range

  • Crumbling prices, rent ruffle condo segment

    The prolonged decline in international arrivals to Cambodia intensified by renewed Covid-19 fears has driven down condominium sales prices and rental rates in Phnom Penh, a research report said. CBRE Cambodia, the local affiliate of US commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group

  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures

  • More than 10,000 workers suspended

    More than 10,000 workers at 18 factories in Svay Rieng province have been suspended because of Covid-19, said provincial deputy governor Ros Pharith. Home to 11 special economic zones, Pharith said Svay Rieng has not been spared as the pandemic takes a toll on the global economy. “There

  • Nod given for school exams

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport announced that State-run higher educational institutions can hold examinations to end the academic year, while private schools can organise grade 9 and grade 12 examinations at their premises for two days. However, private institutions have to take measures to prevent

  • Kingdom’s exports to US mushroom 25.94% in first five months to $2.4B

    Though Cambodia’s exports to other countries have been stalled amid the evolving Covid-19 environment, the Kingdom’s shipments to the US were worth 25.94 per cent more in the first five months of this year than they were in the year-ago period. Bilateral trade between