THE HAGUE: The Netherlands woke up yesterday to the pain of a penalty defeat against Argentina, but local media praised the team that almost made it to a second successive World Cup final.
“It hurts,” popular tabloid Algemeen Dagblad said, splashing a picture of a devastated goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, seated with his head bowed in defeat as Argentina celebrates a 4-2 penalty win in the background.
“This time penalties proved fatal,” the paper said as it pointed out that it was penalties that put the Netherlands through against Costa Rica in the quarter finals.
Popular broadsheet De Telegraaf ran a huge front-page headline simply stating: “The dream ends,” with a diving Sergio Romero about to block Wesley Sneijder’s penalty shot.
The “entire Netherlands was looking forward to a showdown with arch rival Germany,” the paper added.
“Now we’re having to be content with a consolation final against Brazil,” it said.
Progressive daily NRC.next simply had an illustration of a crying face on an orange background with advice on how to survive the day after with a massive orange hangover.
“The Netherlands wakes up with a massive orange hangover. No more fun, no more predictions, no more discussions at the coffee machine,” it added.
Although papers highlighted the team’s failure to convert in the penalty kick-out, they also thanked the team for their accomplishment.
Dutch commentators always maintained that any placing further than the second round was a bonus, rather than a certainty.
“We’ve gone further in Brazil than what was required at the start thanks to (coach) Louis van Gaal, who managed to get the most from a talented team,” said the Christian-based daily Trouw.
“No reason to be sour,” added NRC.next. “The Netherlands can look back on the tournament with satisfaction.”
“Louis van Gaal sent us to the semi finals against all expectations,” said De Telegraaf.
“Complements on a fantastic tournament.”
Argentina face Germany in Sunday’s final while van Gaal’s Holland take on Brazil in the third place play-off 24 hours earlier.AFP