You Can’t Say You Weren’t Warned

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Sure, if there’s a better goal scored in the World Cup than Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s screamer last night, then we will all have been very lucky indeed. But the lad van Bronckhorst has had “previous” in the 40-yard department you know.

Check out this effort from the fullback, just a few months ago for Feyenoord. Eerily familiar, no?

And here’s last night’s, so you can compare and contrast.

What’s also becoming familiar is that we may well get a repeat of the 1974 World Cup final between the Netherlands and Germany, if they can get past the Spanish (and check out Tony’s preview here.) But are the Germans suffering from a case of overconfidence? German tabloid Bild responded to Holland’s semi-final victory over Uruguay with “Sonntag sehen wir uns” – “We’ll see you on Sunday”

As for van Bronckhorst, what a wonderful swansong Sunday’s final will be for the unassuming defender. The Dutch captain is set to retire from international football – a decision he came to in advance of the finals – and his words last night made for happy reading. “There were no tears, just joy. The last game in my career and it’s a World Cup final, what can you say? It could not be more beautiful. I hope it will be the most beautiful game of my life. For everyone, it will be the game of their life.”

It would surely be hard to begrudge the Dutch a first ever World Cup triumph, if only so we can put to bed that unwanted tag of “the best team to have never won the World Cup.” The irony that this side doesn’t have quite the panache of the 1974-1978 vintage (nor have truly clicked as of yet this tournament) isn’t lost on any of us. But credit where it’s due: the Dutch are 90 minutes away from matching arguably the greatest side of all time – the 1970 Brazilians – by being the only team to win every single game at a World Cup without the need for extra time or penalties. And if van Bronckhorst gets into shooting range during the final, expect the opposition to close him down quicker than you can say Total Football.

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