After that defeat, Dutch drown their sorrows in ... Spanish wine

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 July, 2010, 12:00am

Spanish wine was probably not the preferred tipple at the Dutch consul general's residence at such a time. But alcohol, as they say, is the great consoler.

So one of the first things Spanish consul general Juan Luis Flores Arroyuelo did when he received an invitation to the home of his Dutch counterpart to celebrate the World Cup final was to send over some cava, or Spanish sparkling wine.

'The Dutch and the Spanish are friends,' Arroyuelo said.

In a show of solidarity, Arroyuelo and Dutch consul general Robert Schuddeboom were all smiles as they exchanged ties for the cameras. Schuddeboom said the Dutch could have won the match - which they lost 1-0. He described the game as tough and complicated, but conceded that the World Cup went to the slightly better team.

Following in the tentacles of Paul, the octopus that correctly picked winners of this year's World Cup matches, Schuddeboom tried to predict the outcome of the final with his dog. He offered two pieces of bread, representing the Netherlands and Spain, to Toby, an 11-year-old cocker spaniel he got from Hong Kong Dog Rescue, during a barbecue at the weekend. Toby picked the Netherlands. 'Toby got it wrong. The octopus was right,' he said.

Schuddeboom said he expected the Netherlands to emerge victorious over Spain in the semi-finals of the 2012 European Championships.

Schuddeboom, who speaks fluent Spanish, said he had expected about 600 Dutch supporters to have attended last night's party if the national team had won the match. But only an estimated 150 people turned up.

Although Arroyuelo was not surprised when he received Schuddeboom's invitation on Friday, it did raise some eyebrows.

'I was surprised,' Borja Sanchez, secretary general of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, said. Had the Spaniards lost against the Dutch, he would not have attended the bash.

Despite a busy night, a quick shower was apparently enough to wash away bleary eyes and rejuvenate tired bodies as people returned to work yesterday. Some firms took the initiative and allowed staff to apply for half a day's leave if they needed it. A jubilant Sanchez celebrated until 8am before heading to work, while Steven Co, a senior manager at San Miguel Brewery, was in the office by 8.30am after staying up to watch the match.

Doug Rumsam, managing director of wine merchant Bordeaux Index (Hong Kong), told staff not to come to work until noon.