As sacrilegious as it is to say it, tomorrow’s game (yes, it is a game) between the Netherlands and France is not the be-all and with-end-all of the world.
The global economy will not grind to a halt if Oranje does not win, the nation will still exist and even the effect on Dutch share prices will be offset by the weekend coming between the final whistle and Monday’s start of trading.
Nevertheless, Orange is everywhere. Even the rubbish collectors have asked if bunting (those strings of orange flags) can be hung at least 4.6 metres above ground level because it is getting torn down by garbage trucks.
The Dutch are among the most exuberant supporters in the world – at least when all is going well. Some seven million out of a population of nearly 17 million watched Holland beat Italy 3-0 on Monday.
Yet, while that is a massive number in tv viewing figures, it still means nearly 10 million were busy doing something else.
So it is supreme arrogance to read that a large number of shop-keepers are considering closing early on Friday night – the traditional late night shopping night in quite a number of places – because ‘they don’t expect many shoppers and they want to give their staff the night off to watch the footie.’
Have we all gone mad? Not everyone is sitting in front of the telly with a few beers. Some of us would rather go shopping.
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