* History. The Dutch and the Spanish have played eachother 9 times, each winning 4. Astonishingly, they have never met at a World Cup or a European Championship. Their most antagonistic encounter involves the qualification campaign for the 1984 European Championship. The Dutch were bound to qualify unless Spain somehow managed to win its last game against Malta by an improbable 11-goal differential. Even before the game, the Dutch were convinced that the game was going to be fixed. At half-time, the score was just 3-1 but somehow the Spanish managed to score another 9 goals in the second half. Several Maltese players suffered food poisoning before the game, the goalkeeper was hit by a bottle, and the Turkish referee so blatantly favored the Spanish that he was never again invited to referee another international match. The Maltese goalkeeper, John Bonello, later turned up in a Spanish beer commercial called El Amigo Perfecto (ironically for Amstel beer). No foul play was ever proven or even investigated but soccer-crazy Dutchmen drew their own conclusions. This was a long time ago, though, so there will be no hard feelings either way.

* That other kind of history. There is of course that whole thing about the eighty years war.

Still pretty jazzed about soccer right now, despite the Germany defeat.



One response to “Netherlands-Spain

  1. Peter Reynolds

    The World Cup has been fantastic. Now I understand why I hate English football.

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