And then there was one…

Cowardice has so far been punished heavily at the European Football Championship. The cowardly Italians have been sent packing, the unattacking Germans took the first bus home, and tonight the ‘Italy from across the Channel’, catanacio experts England were shot out of the tournament with Portuguese class and temper.

Only one coward is left; his stupidity has protected him so far. It took Dick Advocaat sixty minutes of the match against the Czechs, but then it dawned on him: he was playing an attacking formation! No wonder the Dutch were leading. With all his might he barely managed to turn the match into a loss, by putting in his slowest, most defensive player.

Then, playing the Latvians, he put in four defenders. Yes, count them! Four defenders! The Latvians put in one (1!) striker, and Advocaat figured, hm, should four defenders be enough? Perhaps I should put in some more defensive midfielders? You can never play defensive enough.

Unfortunately, he had not told the Latvian coach of his plans, nor had he explained to his players that they should lose (or how), so the Dutch team miraculously won and went on to the next round.

The one overriding lesson of this tournament seems clear enough: attack, and you will progress. Defend, and you will lose. With Advocaat at the helm, it is doubtful that Oranje will survive five minutes against the Swedes. Lovers of the beautiful game will have to hope that Advocaat again proves daft enough to field an attacking side, and his asistants even dimmer (as usual).

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