The Dutch press expressed disappointment and sadness on Monday after the Netherlands' 1-0 FIFA World Cup™ Final loss to Spain, but paid tribute to the national team that one paper said fought "like lions".
"The 'Oranje' cry," said a headline in orange in the popular AD daily over a full-page photograph of Wesley Sneijder lying on the grass at the Soccer City stadium, his face hidden in his arms. "Proud after a disappointment, it is possible," the paper said in an editorial. "Even if the defeat in the final put a rude end to the joy that reigned over the weekend in this country, the Dutch team can be proud of its performance in South Africa."
"Still not," headlined the left-leaning daily Volkskrant of the Netherlands' third defeat in a Final of football's FIFA World Cup, using the same photograph of the crushed Sneijder. "The Spanish were better," the paper admitted, "but the Dutch team of 2010 is a machine of war in orange which has refused to bow down."
"And now the hangover," said the NRC.Next, the morning edition of economic daily Handelsblad, over another photograph of the goalkeeper, this time crouched with his head dropped forward. "A new generation of Dutch footballers has made a name for themselves these past four weeks in South Africa but the smack of the final defeat will resonate for a long time yet," it said.
The popular daily De Telegraf paid a glowing homage to the team, saying they had fought "like lions". "What will it take for the Netherlands to one day finally become champions of the world of football?" it asked.