During the opening of the final today, newscasters stated that this moment was “the most massive shared human experience there is.”
To feel connected to the world, to forget all of the troubles of the past, to witness hope for the future...
This year’s World Cup Final included two countries that have never before brought home the cup. Not only that, but the history of both Spain and the Netherlands is what the mainstream would consider controversial in itself.
We all know of the recent political moves in the Netherlands that make folks like Cheech and Chong high on life. Amsterdam itself is an eclectic and exotic ambience. Take a tour of coffee shops to peruse the latest strains of medicinal plants but be careful or you may end up on the couch for the rest of the week. Wander the public parks to witness people of the most unique backgrounds playing musical instruments from all over the world, from the drumming tribes of Africa and shamanic Aborigines of Australia, to the extremely rare UFO looking hang drum that has a sound all to its own. Window-shop in the Red Light District for your evening debauchery. With all of this “controversial behavior,” the Netherlands has lower crime rates, lower drug abuse statistics, lower incarcerations, and less money spent on their prison systems.
Their focus is promoting the health of their people.
The Netherlands played with quick pace and intense passion all the way to the end. Arjen Robben pushed through Spain’s defense several times but was unable to beat the keeper. Nigel de Jong’s side kick to Xabi Alonso's sternum should have been a red card and most certainly can be added to the Netherlands list of "controversial behavior."
Now you may be thinking, what is so controversial about Spain?
In, 2005, the country became the first country in the world to give full marriage and adoption rights to homosexual couples (the Netherlands has allowed same-sex marriage since 2001 and now has a law in preparation to provide full adoption rights in equal conditions to opposite-sex marriages).
During the first half of the 20th century, Spain experienced an anarchist uprising that was one of the most successful to date. The movement was in opposition to their neighboring facist regimes. Where anarchy is typically compared to the punk rock movement that started in the United Kingdom with bands like the Sex Pistols, Spain’s people are far from antagonistic, having a neutral and composed standpoint during both World Wars. At present, Spain is a constitutional monarchy and comprises 17 autonomous communities and two autonomous cities.
Spain came out and was unable to control the game like they typically do. In spurts, they were able to find a rhythm and organization but could not find the goal. After two halves of overtime, young substitutions Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas connected across the Dutch eighteen-yard line, which set up Andres Iniesta’s goal in the 116h minute giving Spain their first star, bringing home the cup for the first time.
This game is beautiful. It writes history. It changes lives. It connects the world.