Friday, March 5, 2010

China Plays a Friendly; Dutch Do Not

Interesting story out of China.

China played Portugal in an international friendly in Coimbre on Wednesday, and when it was over China's coach told the Chinese media that he instructed his players not to play too roughly.

He didn't want anyone to get hurt. And miss the World Cup. Including Cristiano Ronaldo, whom he mentioned by name. "We don't want a World Cup without Cristiano Ronaldo because of our fault," he said.

The United States must wish the Netherlands approached these things in the same way.

The U.S. played the Dutch the same night, and they didn't bother with politesse.

One of their players, midfielder Nigel De Jong, made a truly ugly, over-the-ball, shin-high tackle of American midfielder Stuart Holden, one of his country's rising players, and inflicted a broken fibula on Holden.

Holden will be out at least six weeks. It could be longer. He might miss the World Cup.

De Jong has been pilloried by American fans for his tackle, and rightly so. It is hard even to imagine what he was thinking, when he went in so hard and so high and so late. He clearly took the "friend" out of "friendly."

We know why the Americans played the Netherlands and not China. Because the Netherlands is in the World Cup and China is not, and because the Netherlands vaguely resembles England, whom the Yanks get in their opening match, June 12.

But now that it is over, the U.S. coaching staff must wish the Dutch had approached the match with the same "let's make sure no one gets hurt" spirit that China's coach said was uppermost in his mind.

1 comment:

  1. not that I'd advocate that sort of thing but Man City does play Fulham in a couple weeks. Perhaps Deuce could provide a little payback. ;)