WORLD CUP OPEN THREAD, DAY 22: Is Holland Back, Youngins?

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 28: John Heitinga of the Netherlands celebrates with Wesley Sneijder (R) and team mates after he scored the second goal during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between Netherlands and Slovakia at Durban Stadium on June 28, 2010 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Netherlands, for as fearsome a World Cup contestant as they've been, have a glaring Achilles' heel: Portuguese-speaking nations. Over the last 20 years, if the Dutch have been in a World Cup, they've been dispatched by either Portugal or Brazil, and they haven't beaten either of those teams in World Cup action (even during group play) since 1974.

So the Clockwork Oranje is either cursed or overdue, and we're going to find out today, when the Netherlands face arch-nemeses Brazil (9:00 AM, ESPN). Now, Brazil misses three midfielders due to suspension or injury, but if the World Cup's Lakers are in top form, it won't matter. Of course, since the Nederlanders are quite Iowan in that A) they're one of the best programs never to win a trophy and B) their ethnic heritage is a blizzard, we would expect most BHGP readers to be on the side of the Oranje. Or maybe not, because Brazil is Brazil.

The afternoon match, by comparison, is lackluster on its face. We'd dismiss it offhand, but that course of action usually means that Brazil's going to beat the Dutch 3-0 or 3-1, while Uruguay and Ghana (1:30 PM, ESPN)'s going to be a 2-2 scorcher that goes into extra time. For emotional purposes, we will ignore this game instead of wondering how Clint Dempsey would have been our hero and catapulted the USA into international glory I SAID WE'RE IGNORING THIS GAME. (muffled sobbing)

At any rate, normal open thread rules apply. You know them by now.

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