Saturday, July 12, 2014

Overwinning voor de Nederlanders!

Another weekend. The final games of the World Cup. 

I want Argentina to win, but when I've joked about Germany winning I've only upset my Argentinian friends. When it comes to international sports one is not permitted to have too many German friends, you see.

I am upsetting people again, lately.

I have lost my sense of humor, I guess. Everything that I am saying seems far too literal. I need to recapture a sense of ironic distance. Detachment.

My ideas concerning The Master Race have not been received as well as one might hope.

Nothing is a given, either team can win at any point in elimination. Yes, it takes a team that is playing well to win four games in a row, against such good opponents, but any reasonably talented team can win a single game against the best team in the world on any given day. 

It's why World Cup elimination games are so much fun to watch, and why the first round is a group stage.

Had Spain or England played differently in the group stages either of them they very well might have made it to the final two games also. Such a thing would have surprised no one a little more than a month ago. But... I guarantee that I will have more than one person comment on the "ridiculousness" of what I just wrote.

Because: sports experts tend to emerge after the facts. Their science is not always so great at making coherent predictions. They want and need certain outcomes, which affects the data set.

I merely like to see teams that are playing well win. That's why I wished for Chile and Colombia to knock Brazil out, and either of them might have done it, but they faltered just so slightly against the mighty, mighty Brazil.

It would not have been at all unfeasible for Costa Rica to knock the Netherlands out, based on the way that Cost Rica was playing. It would have been fun to see America knock Belgium out, or for Mexico to make it to the final four, which brings us back to the Dutch. Robben's dive was almost as popular a meme as Suarez's bite. Robben's dive has nearly made people forget van Persie's header to open against Spain.

Any of those wins or losses were possible and would have been considered very seriously by anybody discussing the games just over two weeks ago. Now, you would have to be a fool to discuss any possibilities other than the ones that unfolded, and now Argentina must also beat Germany.

As the desire to see a certain teams win, the excuses for any loss increase also. It is like a wave that passes; wishes draw you forward, the weight of excuses pull the trail.

To watch the games with floating allegiances deeply disturbs many of my friends. It is unsettling to have a friend like me that picks his team based on how they are playing rather than by a love for a particular culture, language, or locale. There is something sickening about such a person. It is the result of a diseased mind. 

What else could possibly explain it?

There is a sense of, But we invited you to our country, and you came and visited, and enjoyed your stay. Now, you insist on shitting on us, after we have served you so many dinners...

It's silly, but I understand.

At least my pick for today is obvious and made well in advance: Netherlands. It's a no-brainer. Brazil didn't deserve to make it this far (see above), and even though the Dutch made it here by cheating Mexico along the way, they have gained steam in their playing and are almost as much fun to watch as other teams.

It's like watching Germany, but with some recognizable star players. Or, that's what the online pundits would have you believe about Germany, that they are the only true team, and nothing else, a machine made of humans. 

They've all had their names removed, to better reflect The Fatherland. 

Also, I have more Dutch friends than Brazilian.

It is science.