Maybe it was just bad luck. Every time I zapped past a European Championship broadcast on Dutch TV, something sad happened. At the beginning of this week, for example, I saw analyst Pierre van Hooijdonk pick a photo of Wout Weghorst from a plate and replace it with a photo of Donyell Malen because he thought that the line-up had to be changed over three games. Sometimes you think that being able to distinguish between Malen and Weghorst is the only entry requirement for a football analyst. (Weghorst is the tall one.)
Or a top three of old orange songs that were now popular again, including Frans Duijts and Donnie’s Frans Duijts and Donnie, were shown. Exactly the artists who had performed in the studio the night before when France-Germany was played (do you have it?).
On the evening of the Netherlands-Austria, everything would be different, I hoped. The Belgians set a good example by previewing their match against Denmark on a giant screen full of squares and lines, with arrows where the free spaces would be. (The Red Devils then started as if the Danes were hung with crucifixes and strands of garlic, but we can’t blame the VRT for that.)
Former NEC trainer Peter Hyballa was at the ZDF explaining how inimitable the Dutch attackers zigzagged together. “Look where Blind is walking there, no central defender does that. Totalfussball! Super horny!” At images of Denzel Dumfries, Hyballa shouted: “Roadrunner. Meep beep!” But the ‘Restverteitigung’ was, smiled Hyballa, ‘Niederländisch’. Afterwards, the BBC showed once again how beautifully Frenkie de Jong created space on the field.
And at the NOS? There Pierre van Hooijdonk and Rafael van der Vaart found Malen faster than Weghorst.
Towards the end of the preview, someone remembered that there would be an opponent. A video followed with cool images, which showed that star player David Alaba will earn millions at Real Madrid: “Austria, Austria.” Van der Vaart subsequently called him “an all-rounder”. It was funny though that after ten minutes Alaba stepped right on the foot of Denzel Dumfries and the Netherlands gave a penalty and the match as a gift. All-rounder turns out to be a foot stomper.
Afterwards, Van der Vaart said that, now that the second round had been reached, Malen had to replace Weghorst in the last group match.
I decided at The Orange Summer to cheat on SBS6. There they analyzed themselves – well, the boycott of the program by the players of the Dutch national team after Johan Derksen’s racist joke about rapper Akwasi last year. Wim Kieft thought the boycott was “outrageous”. Johan Derksen said that Wesley Sneijder thought it was nonsense and Wilfred Genee wondered what it was all about.
Also read: A few technically lesser players? As if you need eleven Messis at Orange
Back to the NOS Marco van Basten (a typical moments analyst) suddenly had it on his hips. He had seen a colossal number of long balls from Maarten Stekelenburg and criticized the organization ability of free defender Matthijs de Ligt. About the latter he got into a fight with Kenneth Perez, who thought the backs should pull in. In a short interview, De Ligt defended his keeper’s long balls. “It worked.”
It wasn’t much of a total of six hours of broadcasting, but these were at least three minutes of knowledge about football. Like even in a deadly boring match Frenkie de Jong can shoot through four Austrians with a beautiful acceleration.