World cup 2014
World Cup Diary

World Cup diary: Netherlands not just good at football

Apparently there is another World Cup going on at the moment - good timing, guys

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 June, 2014, 1:21am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 June, 2014, 4:21am

A simply magnificent performance from Holland. Dutch masters. Oranje crush. Etc.

We are talking, of course, of the Netherlands women's thrilling victory over Australia in the final of the Hockey World Cup - why, was there something else on? 

Hockey is nearly as popular among the Dutch as being tall is, and the men's team can make it a double in their own final on Sunday. But talk about being overshadowed. It's doubtful whether even their own families were paying too much attention after that unbelievable win over Spain.

You have to wonder - did nobody involved with hockey's World Cup think it might, just might, have been an idea to move the tournament forward a couple of weeks? Or did they notice only at the last minute that it was going to clash with a slightly more popular World Cup?

Meanwhile, back in the land of proper sport, Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal's decision to allow his players 'family visits' from wives and girlfriends on the morning of the Spain game is one possible reason for their win, according to the Dutch press. We have a hard time not replacing the word 'family' with 'conjugal' in that phrase, but maybe that's just our filthy mind.

"Van Gaal does things his own way and to throw open the hotel to the families ensured he took away some of the pressure," columnist Jaap de Groot (magnificent name) reveals.

"It was totally unexpected, I think it will have surprised some of the players too," added Toon Gerbrands (nearly as magnificent), who worked with Van Gaal at AZ Alkmaar. "It’s a new dimension in coaching, typical of Louis," he said, somewhat hyperbolically. 

Unsurprisingly, famed egotist Van Gaal was keen to make clear that possible pre-match slap and tickle was not a key factor.

"I would not say [the visits] is the reason why we won," he said "with some emphasis", AFP reports. 

The family vibe continued at training on Saturday, with players' children getting a runout:

Meanwhile, this was the scene at Spain's camp:

Videos of the day:

Reddit user flavoriamos posted this fascinating video from his apartment in Sao Paulo, with the title 'This is how Brazil sounds when it scores in the World Cup'. It was quickly followed up by a parody reply, 'This is how the US sounds ... etc' 



'Doener' fails to see the funny side

A minor row in the Germany camp, as midfielder Kevin Grosskreutz gets the hump in an interview on the team's official website.

"You know what, I don’t think that’s very funny at all," Grosskreutz moans.  "And there’s also no hotel lobby here either - that’s probably going to be your next question."

So what exactly was Grosskreutz so annoyed about? He was asked if he was glad there were no kebabs at the team camp - a reference to an incident when a Cologne fan accused the Dortmund midfielder of throwing a kebab in his face, burning his eyes with the spicy sauce. And the hotel lobby reference is to another of his recent run-ins with authority, when he urinated in a Berlin hotel lobby after drinking too much after the German Cup final.

Well Kevin, if you are going to act like a bit of a plonker ...

Remarkably the DFB had to defend their interview after criticism from the media, insisting they weren't trying to mock Grosskreutz, whose nickname in the camp is now 'Doener' (kebab).

Grosskreutz rather po-facedly insisted: "I’ll not allow my mistakes to be ridiculed."

Yes. Hurling kebabs at people and weeing in hotel lobbies are in no way worthy of ridicule.

Tweet(s) of the day:

Massive tip of the hat to Guardian reporter Jacob Steinberg, who has brought the 'World Cup Video Diaries' of Richard Keys to the wider audience they deserve.

Football presenter Keys, sacked by the UK's Sky TV after being caught on camera making sexist remarks, now plies his trade in Qatar, where that sort of thing is positively encouraged. 

His diary, into which we shall now be tuning religiously, beats anything David Brent or Alan Partridge could come up with for sheer cringiness. Here he is "literally fresh back from the gym"


Dance-off goal celebration of the day: