The musings of Mr Monkeysized


The final Phillip II would have wanted by monkeysized
July 9, 2010, 08:39
Filed under: Uncategorized

It comes down to this: Holland v Spain*.

Except it’s not strictly Holland, as that doesn’t bring in the eastern edge of the country – hence the Netherlands, which always reminds me of one’s nether regions.

Gideon Rachman is among those who has noticed that although this isn’t the ’74 rematch between the Dutch and Deutsch, this match does however resonate through history:

On Sunday evening, the Dutch players will sing – “The King of Spain, I have always honoured.” If King Juan Carlos is in the stands, he will doubtless be chuffed to hear this. But, in fact, the men in Orange will simply be rehearsing the grievances that led the Netherlands to revolt against the rule of Phillip the Second of Spain in the mid-1500s. Once you get to the tenth stanza, you begin to see what the Dutch are driving at, as they sing: “That you are molested by the Spaniards/ O Noble Netherlands sweet/When I think of that/My Noble heart bleeds”.

He makes two other points. The first draws out the political resonance:

If one is looking for more contemporary reasons for the Spanish and the Dutch to get along badly, I guess you could look at Europe’s sovereign debt crisis – with the Dutch representing thrifty northern Europe, and the Spanish representing the spendthrift South.

It’s worth noting here that the Spanish league is about as skew-whiff as it’s possible to be, with a duopoly of Barca and Real taking the lion’s share of tv cash and points, rather like a superior Iberian version of Scotland. Barca a couple of days ago had to borrow heavily to pay wages that it had been unable to service, so even these two have financial questions hovering over them (in Spain, city councils traditionally bail out spendthrift clubs, although this may not continue in the current climate). Unsustainable financial models? I’m sure I’ve heard that somewhere before.

Rachman’s final point is on the linkages between Holland and Barca, which provided 7 of the starting 11 in Spain’s semi final. These all go back to chain-smoking slinky Johan Cruyff, with his Catalan son Jordi.

In short we have a very monkeysized final coming up. Not just several millionaires in nylon shorts in a game notable for most players not being able to use their hands, but, as they might say in Gladiator, a game of kick-a-ball that echoes through history.

* Strictly speaking, we also have Uruguay v Germany, the Third Place Play Off – a game of feeble commitment, high scores, a fiesta of fouling, and, this year, the battle of eponymous meat products. Ladies and Gentlemen, we bring you Fray Bentos pies versus Frankfurters/Hamburgers.

versus      

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