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Watch: A visit to the city that gave birth to Marco van Basten Israel today


Our reporter Ronen Durfen continued his journey in Europe, and this time he spent time with Dutch fans in a pub where everyone is everyone's friend • The highlight: the park named after the local soccer genius • The World Cup from a slightly different angle

In the streets of Utrecht, Holland, we get the famous "don't feel the World Cup" atmosphere.

I've been to a World Cup game in this city before - on a wonderful summer day in 2014 - a sea of ​​orange washed over the city and a mighty "Het Wilhelmus" song opened the gates of heaven, and also the goal of the Mexican team, when two late goals advanced Holland to the quarter-finals.

and now?

Almost nothing on the streets.

One or two stores with World Cup specials.

Some people wear symbolic orange.

The day before it was even difficult to find a well that would broadcast Brazil's game.

Here and there a World Cup sale lurks in the stores,

The ratings data dropped sharply - only 14% of the Dutch said they intended to watch the World Cup.

And this is in a country that has lived the World Cups since 1974 with a passion that is hard to match.

No orchestra in Qatar stands.

Of course not the Dutch camping that has become a tradition for every World Cup or Euro.

So the World Cup lives only inside the wells and among the more distinct soccer fans.

And the audience at "Cafe Umm Wilm" is a lyceum.

Every person who enters the well is greeted with applause, cheers and high fives from the local residents - even if they have never been here before.

The hero of the pub is Jackie.

When everyone in the pub is watching the game he sits on the well and drinks his whiskey.

As drunkards do, he repeats his regular joke.

"I'm glorifying. They (the footballers) don't come to see me work, I don't see them."


The local unsung hero, photo: Getty Images

The favorite actor in "Cafe Oma Willem"?

Goalkeeper Andreas Neufert.

It is very surprising that with less than 50 appearances in his entire career, he is suddenly called to the World Cup to defend the Orange goal.

"I die for these Van Halen nonsense," a fan named Hank tells me, "only he can do such a crazy thing."

The truth is that he is not the only one.

Van Halen basically repeated here what the great Reinus Michaels did in 1974.

In consultation with Johan Cruyff, Jan Jungleblod was called up, a small team goalkeeper who had not worn the national team jersey in the previous 12 years.

He found himself defending the goal in two world finals at the age of 33 and 37.

Holland of course included and perfected the idea - many will define Edwin van der Sar as the best ever in footy, and from a mixture of drunkenness and tactical awareness the crowd cheers for every kick of the goalkeeper.

Even if one of them was almost abducted and could have gone through a mandatory gate.

Everyone is everyone's friend at Cafe Oma Willem,

Hank is a little more mentally fit to have a little more serious conversation.

Yes, they are aware of the problematic nature of the World Cup in Qatar.

But supporting the team is also personal support for Van Gaal.

They really liked that he took his players to meet foreign workers in Qatar.

"Not so much because it will change anything, but so that the players appreciate what they have in life."

To the question of whether there is no fear that the World Cup will nevertheless give legitimacy to FIFA and Qatar, he replies in language that cannot be written in a newspaper. I would also try to moderate his words, I doubt if they could be published.

To the question whether Holland's success will lift the morale and the atmosphere a bit, he answers "Have you seen the players we have?"

One of the main streets in Utrecht.

The color orange does not exist.

Utrecht obviously sets an impossible standard for football greatness.

Not the Amsterdam factory, but one unique figure - "The Swan from Utrecht" - the city's Marco van Basten.

Perhaps symbolically the sports park named after him in Shifoli city center is on the corner of Spinoza Road.

Because if Cruyff was a free thinker who reinvented football, Van Basten, like Spinoza, was a neat logician.

Van Basten.


From his youth he kept a diary in which he recorded and drew goals he saw or scored, and created a virtual library of football situations in his mind and knew how to turn them all into a winning move.

He was snatched from the world of football only 27 years old due to injury - but sweeping than Van Persie, brilliant than Bergkamp, ​​clinical than Van Nistelrooy - whoever saw will defeat the forgotten of the giants.

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Source: israelhayom

All sports articles on 2022-11-26

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