Some articles are too well written and lovingly curated not to share. This is one. Making judicious use of Bergkamp’s auto-biography, “Stillness and Speed”, it delves into analysis of the man and the psyche of dutch football that even the wonderful David Winner would appreciate. Its also lovely, in a sport so often defined by ‘the next thing’ and results and trophies, that people take the time to reflect on a moment. Holland have still never won a World Cup, but this goal epitomises why their good teams are cherished by people the world over, despite the best efforts of the 2010 team in the final. And exactly why that brutal and pragmatic performance against Spain was rejected at home, despite being 6 inches more bend on an Arjen Robben shot from being their most successful ever.
The quarter final against Argentina in July 1998 remains one of the most pulsating in recent World Cup history, with chances, goals, red cards, beautiful passages of play and a ton of tension, only to be settled with a moment of not only drama, but as the man himself reluctantly puts it, ‘perfection’. That Holland fell in the semi-final to Brazil in a game they did enough to win, at the hand of their greatest nemesis, the penalty shoot-out, only adds to the perfect Dutchness of the moment.
Rather than continuing to steal Rob Smyth’s thunder, I urge you to read the article above. And if you want to delve deeper, I whole heartedly recommend Bergkamp’s autobiography ‘Stillness and Speed: My Story’, edited by the aforementioned David Winner. Winner also has penned the seminal ‘Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football’, and the equally excellent ‘Those Feet: An Intimate History of English Football’. Needless to say, both cover far greater range than just the immediate subject matter, and taught me things about my own relationship with sport that I did not know.