Orange Crush feeling slightly blue

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:02 PM ET

JOHANNESBURG – Numbering 25,000 strong, they confidently marched with a collective swagger on Soccer City Stadium Monday morning, a collection of orange hair, orange faces, orange clothes, orange everything.

The Netherlands were meeting Denmark in the first match of South Africa 2010 for both teams and the Dutch faithful were going to make sure the world knew who was going to win.

Yet for the first 45 minutes, members of the Orange Crush were feeling blue.

Their heroes had fumbled and bumbled their way to a moribund first half against an inferior team, causing fears that history would repeat itself.

There was reason for concern.

The Dutch arguably have been the most underachieving side in World Cup history, never able to seal the deal despite always bringing one of the most talented teams to the tournament every four years.

And in the first half, it appeared it would be the same old story.

But an own-goal header by Denmark’s Daniel Agger early in the second half saved the day for the Netherlands, which went on to post a 2-0 victory at Soccer City.

Nevertheless, don’t expect them to be dancing in the streets of Amsterdam quite yet. They have seen this act before.

And so has Holland manager Bert van Marwijk, who has watched premature Dutch swagger get the team eliminated far too early in past World Cups.

“I have said 100,000 times that sometimes we are arrogant and sometimes that might backfire on us,” van Marwijk said. “And I have told my players from Day 1 that we must not fall into that trap.”

All those fanatical Dutch supporters on hand at Soccer City have seen their heroes fall into that very trap far too often. And you can bet it’s something that weighs on their minds each and every time Holland steps onto the field.

mike.zeisberger@sunmedia.ca


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