Rest day “resting”
Playing soccer on the rest day(s) is a tradition in Wijk aan Zee. No foul weather can stop the eager from blowing off some steam. This year’s edition was no different, but for the first time, I got to join in on the fun. It was an obvious highlight, and one I had been preparing for ever since I got the invite. Well, okey – that might be a bit over the top, but at least I was very excited. As is the custom, or at least so I’ve heard, the match-up was Holland versus the rest. A fair fight you would think, even though the Dutch outnumbered us by one. We were counting on that the fighting spirit of “the rest of the World” would compensate for the player less. We played mini-matches of first to five goals, and then first to five mini-matches. For those doing the math, I can assure you that you are indeed right: We played for a small eternity!
After the Dutchmen won the first mini-match, things were looking bleak, but as it turned out, losing the first one was exactly the motivation we needed! We proceeded to win the next five mini-matches, and with it the match and eternal glory. Post-match analysis seems to suggest that the Dutch team were sorely missing their star Wouter Spoelman. For incomprehensive reasons, he opted for a walk on the beach with his girlfriend instead of the most important soccer-match thus far in the decade. Hopefully there will be an epic rematch next year!
I may be somewhat biased in determining man of the match, but you’re reading my blog – so that’s what you get! Mark Bluvshtein was a goalie for most of the game, and a fantastic one at that! Some of his octopus saves were simply incredible! Even when the Dutch got one-on-one, we always knew we could rely on Mark. He also has his own blog, where you can get a second opinion on the game, as well as lots of analyzed games. Admittedly, his blog looks much neater than mine! I can’t do anything but plead technical incompetence. I might ask him for some tips!
All the pictures below were taken by photographer Fred Lucas. He followed the Tata tournament closely, and took great pictures for the tournament website, as he has done for many years. I highly recommend his albums at the tournament website, as well as his own website.
The whole gang together. I would list the names, but Mark already did in his blog. So if you’re curious, you’ll have to check out his blog as well! I’m an evil little genius, aren’t I?
Doing some gymnastics, or maybe a long pass, who knows? I’m not completely sure that is the right technique for any way of hitting the ball. Behind us is a playground and a school, proof of that we were essentially stealing the schoolkids’ soccer field.
Magnus has been watching way too much professional soccer.
After 2+ hours of play, running back to defense after an attack is painful.