No prizes for guessing what event fills the newspapers and TV in Spain today, to the virtual exclusion of all else. Presumably the world has stopped turning.
But, anyway . . . . Right result. Wrong match.
And now it seems the two nations can agree on only one thing – that the (English) referee was dreadful. The Dutch say he was a “media chump” and the Spanish insist he was a brilliant accomplice to the wretched tactics of the men from the (very) Low Countries. Indeed, article after article in the Spanish press give the impression the consensus here is that at least two of the Dutch team should have been sent off during the first half and most of the rest during the second. Even though this would have made the game a nonsense and given Spain an empty victory. That said, no sooner had the final whistle gone than my younger daughter called me from the UK to say the commentators there had said at the end of full time it was remarkable Holland still had eleven men on the field. So I guess the truth lies somewhere between the Dutch and Spanish views. And my sympathies go to the hapless Mr Webb, who’d said before the match he’d be happiest if there was no need to mention his name after it. As it is, the man who gave a record 13 yellow cards will always be remembered in Spain as the ludicrously lenient protagonista negativo of the match. So naturally lenient, in fact, that his wife had claimed he couldn’t control his own children. Who said Spain doesn’t have an Anglo-type tabloid press? Oh, it was me.
I guess that, if all the Dutch players had actually been sent off during the 90 minutes, there’d have been less concern about the Spanish team being able to convert their fabulous footwork into goals. A shortcoming which kept all of us chewing on our nails – at least metaphorically – right up to the bitter end of extra time.
Anyway . . . Here’s a couple of articles from a UK perspective. Neither of them particularly sympathetic to the Dutch tactics or their morning-after perspective. From the left-of-centre Guardian and the right-of-centre Telegraph. As one commentator put it, at least the Dutch have taken from the English the accolade of being the most deluded about the quality of their football.
Up behind Pontevedra - in the mountain town of Carballiño, famous for its octopus cooking - the residents have offered 30,000 euros for Prophetic Paul. It's not clear whether they want to display or eat him. If the latter, he'd surely be delicious.
Finally . . . An (English) friend has told me a story which may well be the definitive illustration of the relationship between noise and fun here in Spain. This, he swears, was a conversation between him and his (Spanish) girlfriend this weekend. I’ll leave you to decide what they were up to at the time:-
Him: Sweetheart, could you keep the noise down a bit?
Her: ?Por que?
Him: Well, the windows are open.
Her: ?Y que!¿
Him: Well the neighbours might be a bit disturbed.
Her: ?Y que!¿