how great America is in losses, this friend of Berhalter knows
Publisher in Qatar
Publisher in Qatar
The eyes of the football world are on the World Cup in Qatar. In the wake of absolute world stars and on the fringes of current affairs, Thierry Boon, editor-in-chief of NOS, writes daily about his experiences in Doha.
Netherlands-USA, Round of 16 World Cup 2022. An hour or two before kick-off. Climb the steps of Khalifa Stadium. Suddenly I see a large white back with ‘Berhalter’ written on it in red letters.
It’s a nice shirt. White, with a blue collar, with a white stripe inside, finished with a layer of red. And around the sleeves the same pattern.
The United States shirt from, I guess, the mid-1990s. The man, well tanned and bald, turns around. Hey, that’s a familiar face. He was on TV again this week.
It is the Dutch Ruud van Os, or the former announcer of the Sparta stadium, who recently spoke of his friendship with Gregg Berhalter, the national coach of the opponent of Orange America.
Sparta Stadium president knows Van Gaal, but is friends with US national coach
“I’m here at the invitation of Gregg’s family,” Van Os says, as he joins a group of disguised Americans queuing at the food stand. “It’s his wife and it’s his children.”
His friend Berhalter set a condition for Van Os to come. The Dutchman is not allowed to wear orange, but must wear something white. Van Os therefore fully adhered to this. “There is also a white shirt under this shirt,” he laughs relaxed.
Big on losses
Ninety minutes of football later, the atmosphere, also in Van Os, is very different. The Dutch national team is too strong 3-1 and sends the United States home. The stadium is empty except for the sections with family and friends.
See the Netherlands v USA summary here
“I still think the Americans are great in the way they know how to deal with losses,” Van Os said from the stands. “You can see that now. Players and coaches are like family in this profession. It’s quiet, but there’s a lot of hugs. We support each other.”
The Berhalter family is still waiting for “their” Gregg. The national coach is still conducting interviews. Meanwhile, Van Os is already worried. “Football coaches are hired to be fired, also in America. So it will go through his head. It’s a hit.”
But didn’t Van Os, head of sports at RTV Rijnmond, secretly cheer as a Dutchman? “No, my feeling is with Gregg. I clapped really hard once and that’s when the 2-1 fell.”
“The feeling of us is so strong here with these people. And I got to be part of it for two days. Really beautiful. Tonight I’ll be back.”
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