zondag, 27 juni 2004


I do have to admit, that I did not believe it – victory – at the start of the shoot-out series. The EURO ’92 semi-final against Denmark; the EURO ’96 quarter-final against France; the 1998 FIFA World Cup semi-final against Brazil; the UEFA EURO 2000 semi-final against Italy; all were lost by the Dutch in penalty contests…

I did not watch the first penalties. My face was hidden behind my hands, my friends backs. I could hear the reactions of the crowd: the cheering, the “no!” at Cocu’s miss. Finally I peaked. I saw how Larsson missed his one. I felt the tension of the supporters, saw the crossed fingers, heard the quick-prayers…And then: Robben scored!!! Cheering, hugging, kissing.

Oranje finally laid to rest their spot-kick hoodoo! Chased away the penalty-ghost! Semi-finals next, Portugal: beware!

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