Ahead of today's Netherlands vs Uruguay semifinal, Holland fans swarmed into Cape Town, South Africa, draping themselves in bright orange and appearing to outnumber their South American counterparts by at least 5 to 1.
Cape Town, South Africa
At the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Dutch fans mingled in the sun in an array of orange gear: wigs, replica football shirts, tracksuit tops, garlands, giant sunglasses, caps, dungarees, jackets, and perhaps the most bizarre piece of clothing from this World Cup – arm socks.
University friends Dirk Rietberg, 41, Gerald van Engelen, 42, Reinier van Doorne, 44, and Frans van der Doak, 41, from Eindhoven looked resplendent in orange, with the latter pair in bright orange suits complete with waistcoats and stetsons.
“We had them for Germany in 2006 and wore them at the European championship two years ago – and they still fit," says Mr. van der Doak. "I always try to wear orange because then the team can see the support.”
Mr. van Engelen was sporting an orange T-shirt. “It is a great vibe here," he says. "I predict we will win tonight by 1-0 or 2-1 and then we can play Germany in the final where we can get revenge for ’74. We are good enough to win the World Cup.”
In downtown Cape Town, Holland fans appeared to outnumber their South American counterparts by at least 5 to 1 as their bright team colors enjoyed a visual advantage over their opponent’s rather drab light blue.
Despite being in the minority, Uruguayans were still optimistic their team would beat the Dutch and reach their first final since 1950. Wearing the national uniform and carrying their blue-and-white-striped flags, friends Tico Otegui and Pablo Sciarra from the capital, Montevideo, predicted a 1-0 victory for La Celeste, as the Uruguayan team is called.
“We’ll win, for sure," says Mr. Otegui, speaking in Market Square in central Cape Town. "We flew in from Uruguay yesterday to see our boys win the World Cup with or without Suarez,” the forward who controversially handled the ball on the line against Ghana in the last minute of normal time in the quarter final.
“He is a hero," says Mr. Sciarra, "but he did not cheat like Maradona. He has been punished, but what he did was instinct. Without him, we would not be here in South Africa and going to a semifinal. We will win, with an offside goal,” he adds with a wry smile.
As the sun – which some Dutch fans also claimed was Holland orange – bathed Cape Town in a feelgood vibe, rival supporters gently teased each other and offered to donate wigs and team scarves in efforts to convert their opponents.
Others wandered along the sea front amid a smattering of other international colors of supporters whose teams have long since left the tournament and country.
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