I almost couldn't write this blog, and almost gave it a title that is not suitable for younger audiences as a way to describe how I feel about the Spanish right now. But, my Dutch despair has driven me to express my disappointment and sadness at our beloved Oranje's loss in extra time yesterday.
The day started off well enough. As I got on the TTC to head down to Liberty Village, the only other hardcore fans in my neighbourhood, a family of three, were on the bus with me. We both had our Netherlands flag up long before the tournament started, and watched with delight as the bandwagon got more and more crowded leading up to the final. At Shoeless Joe's, despite getting there 2 hours before kickoff, the place was packed, and it was standing room only. Not a problem for me, especially when I expected to be on my feet for the entire match anyway!
The energy was positive, and the sea of orange was just beautiful. The crowd was pumped and we were chanting almost the entire time during the pre-game. I sang "Het Wilhemus" (the world's oldest national anthem) lustily and loudly, and could not contain my excitement.
The match itself was a great one. The Dutch, unlike their German cousins, were not dominated at all by Spain. Possession was quite even, and we definitely had the best chances. And the goaltender, Stekelenburg, was amazing! Our hearts were in our throats for a lot of the match play, but everyone maintained the happy, hopeful, excited feeling of expectation, because we believed that our team was in the ascendency, and about to make history. Unfortunately for us, it was the wrong kind of history.
After the game ended, and Spain had won, the atmosphere dropped like the oxygen had been sucked out of the room. That moody, quiet depression that I experienced in the Netherlands when I was there for the Oranje's semi-final loss against Italy at Euro 2000 was back, only this time, it was a mini Toronto version. I couldn't even look at anyone, lest I burst into tears. I'm sure I was not alone in that feeling. Some fans tried to keep a positive air, and there was some flag waving and horn honking afterwards, but I was (and still am) too depressed and angry to even think about being grateful for just being at the final.
The Dutch deserved to win. The Oranje Army deserved to be rewarded for being the best fans in the City. We are welcoming, multicultural, peaceful and passionate, just like our City. I guess it just wasn't meant to be this time. However, there is a positive outcome: Liberty Village will forever be the centre of Oranje madness and celebration during the World Cup. So, I'm looking forward to a street party in 4 years when we are finally the brides, and not the bridesmaids!