Newspapers in the Netherlands today contained a moderate amount of reaction and analysis following their nation’s 1-0 win over Scotland at Pittodrie. Here’s what their media is saying...
“Hits of the Proclaimers, Rod Stewart, a bagpipe player for the interpretation of the national anthem,” read the start of the report in Algemeen Dagblad. “Yes, in Aberdeen they did everything in advance to create a little more atmosphere. But Scotland - The Netherlands did not become a contest that will be discussed.”
The same publication would later describe the goal as “a beautifully played goal in an ugly game”.
Most of the Dutch press carried the same stories from key players on the night. The most prominent was Ryan Babel’s praise for the starting front three against Scotland, which played a big part in the only goal. He was quoted in De Telegraaf as saying: “We are much less predictable. If I could say that, I’d love it to go on that way. It was a beautiful counter-attacking goal. There is a lot of potential in the front line as we filled it now. We have all three creativity and speed. We are also not bound to fixed positions.”
Others were less complimentary about their national team. De Volkskrant’s headline read: “Scotland’s 90-minute charge against outdated philosophy.” The report would later go on to describe the winner in these terms: “the only goal was like a lonely lily on desert soil.”
NRC Next described the match as “a duel between the European middle-class”. It would later call the Netherlands’ display “sluggish, futile, sloppy, inspirational” before adding: “Here again a team played without direction, without enthusiasm, without a plan, without heart.”
Aberdeen fans, especially those who wish for their club to stay in their current home, will be happy de Volkskrant described Pittodrie Stadium as “picturesque”.
Such was the dearth of quality in the match, De Telegraaf devoted a short paragraph to described the moment three minutes in where the game was delayed as a fully pumped up ball was sought: “Oranje knocked the ball out of play, and not to allow an injury treatment, but because the balls were leaky. Only after the third ball (after a bit of delay) was found could the game restart. It wasn’t good advertising for Adidas, who presented the new World Cup ball on Thursday.”
Algemeen Dagblad provided readers with a stats piece to underline the lack of interest in the game. “Only 1,054,000 million people tuned into the friendly against Scotland yesterday,” it read. “That is a lot less compared to the Netherlands-Sweden game one month ago, when the Dutch team still had a chance of reaching the World Cup . That match attracted over 2.8 million viewers.”
Scotland aren’t the only side going through problems on the international stage, as de Volkskrant pointed out: “Dutch football needs a revolution to reinvent itself. First a technical director and then a new national coach.” They later added: “Of course, the soulless contest against Scotland felt for all involved as a criminal act and the end of a mourning process.”
Former Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk was quoted in a few publications as saying: “It was a special contest for me.”
Algemeen Dagblad was none too complimentary in its description of Hearts defender Christophe Berra, devoting a paragraph in its match report to explaining how performance and subsequent subbing off illustrated the patience of the Tartan Army crowd. It read: “The Scottish crowd is not the cynical type on a night like that. And to be fair, that is probably for the better. At the start of the second half, there was even a polite applause for the subbed off Christophe Berra. A long time ago, Jan Mulder wrote a column about a central defender of Wales who in the most inimitable ways managed to hoof every ball forward. Those sentences would have been fitting for Berra’s performance. And still, Scotland managed to get closer to the World Cup play-offs than the Dutch. They only fell short by one goal.”