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My favourite football memories 6 July 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Life.

Growing up in Europe (and being Dutch) means that I had quite a bit of exposure to football, both to international level games, like the World Cup and the European Cup, and to local level games, with my brother bravely playing as a keeper in the local football club.

I am by no means a football aficionado, but I do like good inter-country games. It is the only football I have any energy left over for (sorry Bro, now that you no longer play, the local team has fallen off my radar). And, because the actual World Cup only comes around every 4 years, it is minimal effort to stay abreast with the games.

My favourite memories, though, are not actually much about the football itself (in chronological order):

  • In 1995, while cycling from Kiel in Germany to the Netherlands for holidays, my family and I stopped off in a small town that had not actually opened for tourism season yet. The only accommodation we could find was extremely spartan military barracks, where we ended up in tiny rooms with a single bed and a sink, where I seem to remember sleeping on an inflatable mattress on the ground.There, we went to the local pub for dinner, and we asked whether there was anywhere where they were showing the game, as Holland was playing a match that evening. I seem to recall it was Holland-Germany, but my memory might be failing me, as I could not find it online anywhere.They said they had a room out the back which during summer was opened for guests like a restaurant, but for now, it was closed. However, they had already allowed a large group of Dutch construction workers to eat their meals there, so we were welcome to join them.

    It was fun, because I was shy, and they were not. I cannot remember anything about the game, but I learnt more Dutch swearwords and football chants in one game than I had learnt in my entire life up to that point.

  • In 1998, during the FIFA World Cup, Norway met Brazil during their group games on 23 June. 23 June also happens to be ‘Sankt Hans Aften’, the longest day of the year in Norway (or at least celebrated as such). This means that everyone is already in a fantastic mood, and the football wasn’t going to mess with it.I had been allowed to go spend a couple of nights with my BFF, who I will refer to as QT. QT is an incredibly sporty girl, and a real tom boy in many respects. And she loves football. There was just no way that she would miss the game. As a quick recap, for those who don’t recall (or don’t care) – Brazil had an amazingly strong team that year, and were the favourites to win the entire Cup. It was the year of the Ricki Martin World Cup song.

    In the 78th minute, Brazil scores the first goal. With Norway down 0-1 so close to the finish, it is looking incredibly bleak. But 8 before the end of the match, Norway scores a goal. They need to win to progress to the next round. In the 89th minute, Norway gets a penalty kick. QT by this stage is delirious. She is so nervous about the outcome that she gets up and hides behind one of the support columns in the living room, peaking around it to see what’s going on.

    She says “I can’t watch”, and turns her head away as Kjetil Rekdal is lining up the ball to kick it. She realises she is about to miss the most amazing moment in Norwegian football history, so she peaks from between her fingers. And then:

    GOOOOOOAAAAAL!!! We run out on the balcony, we scream at the top of our lungs. It seems the whole street has been watching, there is cheering all around. The air is electric. Norway beat Brazil! They beat the champions! The favourites! People had made impossible bets against Norway, as this was never going to happen. Newspapers later told the stories; One man had to paint his house pink with purple polka dots because he had said he would if Norway won. France was the only other team to beat Brazil in 1998. In the final.

I have many other wonderful memories of getting all dressed in orange and cheering on our Dutch boys, too, and I am still making them. My poor partner doesn’t quite get the colour thing (yet) and since I only have one orange shirt, it always comes out for the Dutch occasions. It is less than flattering, but it is orange, so I don’t care!

Hup Holland Hup!



1. lizeth - 6 July 2010

Yeh! and hopefully an exciting game to night……so you can practice all those bad dutch words.
But 23 June the longest night must be a slip of the keyboard because they usually call it the longest day 😉

Laat de leeuw niet in zijn hempie staan……

uggclogs - 6 July 2010

Ups! You are right, of course.

2. HJK - 6 July 2010


3. Dianne - 9 July 2010

I remember doing much the same as your Norwegian friend when Cathy Freeman was running the 400 m at the Sydney Olympics.

Good luck with the final.

4. Martin Strøm Nilsen - 10 July 2010

I remember that match in -98 quite well myself. I think I was watching the game at a common friend’s house. Brazil scored, and a few of us said something to the effect of “this is hopeless, can’t be bothered watching this any more” and went down to the harbour and took my little boat out instead. When we came to Middagsbukta we heard the immense roar from all the people watching/listening to the game in their boats.

We realized we had missed something important.

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