An Egyptian co-worker has been amazed by the overly aggressive tactics of the Dutch squad during the World Cup.
I tried explaining to him that us Dutch are competitive to a fault. We bring it to a whole new level. It was a concept that eluded him.
We Dutch are a hard-working, sensible, frugal (some say cheap) people. We are not dainty or adorable. We are prideful, brash and LOUD. And I love it. We can party with the best of them.
We work hard, and when we play, we play hard. We play to win. Losing is for suckers. Winning means crowing and rubbing it in your competitors faces. Losing means you have to stoically take it. No cry-babies allowed. (You can cry about losing, but you have to take the abuse without bitching). A Dutch father does not let his son win at anything growing up. You have to earn your win. We learn this from the moment we can walk.
We don't need to play for money to make a contest worthwhile. We will, but a Dutchman and his money are not easily parted. If a Dutchman is willing to play for money, it is because he expects to win. The contest, the struggle, the competition; that is enough to fire our passions and stoke our interest. While winning money is great, it is the icing on the cake of winning.
Because winning and losing is so personal, oftentimes do not make great team players. To the point that it was amazing this year's football squad held together.
And that was part of our problem yesterday. The passion was so strong we took too many yellow cards. Our aggression cost us. The passion for winning can be a weakness.
But it was no half-assed effort. There is not less than 110% from a Dutchman. There may be poor play and great play, but it is everything we have.
So if you beat us, we've made you earn it. Congratulations to Spain. You earned your victory.
But we will be back.