“Is the definite article of The Holland because they’re plural?” asks Bob O’Hara. “Like The British Isles. So if we want The Ingerland, we would have to have more than one. Perhaps we could have one in the EU and one outside it. Like a controlled experiment.”
Meanwhile, Richard Morris reckons thusly: “The Netherlands has a definite article because it’s a group of separate entities like the United States, or the Philippines. England as a name relates to Land of the Angels so wouldn’t be a candidate (like land of the Thais, so never the Thailand).”
I’d love to have seen the boys Gabriel and Michael tossing plastic furniture the Garden of Eden’s main square.
“Wouldn’t the Netherlands be similar to the United Kingdom,” wonders David Wall, “i.e. it’s made up of a number of regions/nations that historically might also be referred to separately?”
I guess that’d make some sense, but I’d always refer to “West Indies” not “the West Indies” and “USA USA USA” not “the USA”.
I guess that brings us back to the retro tip, and the yer da vibes that can’t help but infuse this genre and force me to note that back in good old Euro 96, we had bands like Supergrass and Super Furry Animals who weren’t the best of the era but would be the best by miles of the current era. Bah etc.
Thinking about that Austria-West Germany game, I thought I’d have a look at the hit parade for that week and discovered, as I thought I might, numerous bangers. Hungry Like the Wolf, Do I Do, Avalon, Only You (Yazoo, not Flying Pickets featuring Doug Murray from Corrie), Temptation, Rock the Casbah and this absolute classic.
Talking of the Netherlands, can anyone explain why they’re a definite article? It’s surely a matter of time before the FA start referring to The England.
On this day in 1986, France and Brazil engaged in one of the greatest international matches ever played and certainly the greatest I’ve ever seen. All 120 minutes plus penalties are available to you here:
For those with less time than sense, here’s a digested version:
And here’s a retro minute-by-minute for you to read here:
Ch-ch-changes (2): Austria make two changes, Ulmer and Gregoritsch losing their places to Grillitsch and Arnautovic. Arnautovic, remember, was banned for Austria’s game against the Netherland after being found guilty of insulting Ezgjan Alioski, but not guilty of discriminatory behaviour. Which is an interesting standard, really, given that the former seems worthy of no punishment and the latter seems worthy of a far more serious punishment. Uefa, eh. Anyhow, by the looks of things, Austria have also changed formation from 3-1-4-2 to 4-3-2-1 – that to me sounds like a team seeking all three points.
Ch-ch-changes: Ukraine make one change, in the middle of midfield, where Sydorchuk replaces Stepanenko.
Ukraine (a Milanese 4-3-3): Bushchan; Mykolenko, Matviyenko, Zabarnyi, Karavayev; Zinchenko, Sydorchuk, Shaparenko; Malinovskiy, Yaremchuk, Yarmolenko. Subs: Pyatov, Trubin, Sobol, Sudakov, Kryvtsov, Stepanenko, Marlos, Makarenjo, Tsygankov, Besedin, Tymchyk, Dovbyk.
Austria (a lesser-spotted Weihnachtsbaum): Bachmann; Lainer, Dragovic, Hinteregger, Alaba; Schlager, Laimer, Grillitsch; Baumgartner, Sabitzer; Arnautovic. Subs: Schlager, Pervan, Ulmer, Posch, Ilsanker, Gregoritsch, Lienhart, Trimmel, Schaub, Schöpf, Onisiwo, Kalajdzic.
Remakes, covers, and cruel, callous governments – as a society, we’re obsessed with recapturing the past. Those of us with a cynical bent might surmise that shallow people with no imagination see money only in things that have made money in the past, while those of us with a more altruistic sensibility might surmise that people enjoy looking back, so invoking it makes them likely to hand over their money. What a species!
By amazing coincidence, Ukraine v Austria brings with it an unmistakably retro feel. Thanks to the primacy of money over integrity – a timeless classic if ever there was one – we’re not only playing 36 games to eliminate eight nations, but allowing some to stay on account of results achieved by other teams, in other groups. As such, both Ukraine and Austria know that a draw here would almost definitely see them into the last 16, the former in second place and the latter as one of the best third places.
Of course we’ve been here before: at the 1982 World Cup, Austria played out a 1-0 defeat to West Germany which allowed both to progress at the expense of Algeria, who went home. What a sport!
But tonight, hopefully that won’t happen. Ukraine have been impressive so far, edged by the Netherlands in one of the funnest games we’ve seen before beating North Macedonia in not one of the funnest games we’ve seen, while Austria beat North Macedonia in decent style then comprehensively succumbed to the Netherlands. If they’re level after an hour, a pact of non-aggression becomes likely, but in the first instance I’d expect both to seek the win.
And across Europe, there’ll be players and supporters platzing for exactly that: a positive result here, followed by a win for Belgium over Finland later on, and three points plus a goal difference of 0 will be enough to secure a spot in the knockout stage. This will have particular appeal for a Portugal team one step away from being pelted with pastéis de nata on their return to Portela, but actually, that sounds like a plan. Maybe we’re not such a bad old species after all.
Kick-off: 7pm in Bucharest, 5pm B“S”T