Wilhelmus van Nassouwe ben ik van Duitsen bloed,
den vaderland getrouwe blijf ik tot in den dood.
Een prinse van Oranje ben ik vrij onverveerd,
den koning van Hispanje heb ik altijd geëerd.
That's one couplet out of the 15 that the oldest national anthem in the world counts.
It's the one we sing on occasions where national anthems are played, like on a international football championship.
This year was again our year, just like two years ago the people of the KNVB (Royal Dutch Football Association) did their best to get the rights of organizing the 2007 youth championship in our country.
Two years ago it was the World Championship which took place in our country, this year "just" the European championship.
National U-21 coach Foppe de Haan was ready for it, the goal of the tournament was to get to the Semi Finals which assures a ticket for the 2008 Peking Olympic Games.
Holland's first match took place in Heerenveen, a town about 30-35 Kilometres distance from my house.
I'm not really a nationalist, I rather support Italy than my home country Holland, a thing where I'm ashamed of every now and then, but there I sat, on the 10th of June, on the couch with the tv on channel "Talpa", a commercial channel which raped Dutch football since it took over the broadcasting rights two years ago.
Waiting for the start of The Netherlands - Israel.
The match started, a boring match, with one goal from Ajax player Hedwiges Maduro, bad defending and bad keeping from the Israelites.
I was very tired that day, every now and then I felt asleep on the softly feeling couch, but overall I saw pretty much of the game.
Three points in the pocket for Holland and my sympathy for Frisian Foppe de Haan grew even more.
The day after it was Italy's turn to start their groupphase.
It would be a boring match, with one goal for Serbia, a good goal, but maybe a little lucky, Italy left with empty hands.
The next day at school some friends of mine teased me, like they always do when Italy or Inter loses or draws, I didn't pay much attention to it, and pointed them on the fact that Holland lost their opening match last year in Portugal and eventually became European Champions.
After the groupphase, which ended very exciting but disappointing for Italy, Holland succeeded and accomplished her goal, the Semi-Finals and a ticket to Peking where assured and the players where partying like they won the Champions League with FC Thun.
At school I heard people talk about a little tobacco store in the neighbourhood where they sold tickets for Holland's match.
Along with some friends I went to the tobacco store and bought the last available tickets, it was going to be a full house in the Abe Lenstra stadium at Heerenveen, the home stadium of the club Foppe de Haan trained 20(!) years.
A day later we were sitting in the bus which took us to the stadium, it was great, everything and everyone was Orange, the national colour of Holland.
I never knew that even at a Under-21 match people where so fanatic and happy to be at the stadium, it was really great.
The match was very boring, but the enthusiasm of everybody made up a lot.
Holland played much and much better but unfortunately Lita scored a goal for the English.
From that point on Holland started attacking even more than they already did, it didn't paid out in a goal, some people were leaving or were already outside the stadium when I saw the most beautiful goal I have ever seen while attending a match in the stadium.
The explosion was enormous, 26.000 people dressed in Orange screamed their longs to dust and after the celebrations the only thing I could hear was a little soft *Beeeeeeeeeep*, a great feeling.
After the extra time with England on the own half and Holland attacking again and again and again it was still 1-1, so the penalty's came.
Most of all times penalty's are decided after the total of 10 penalty's, but not this time, it still wasn't decided after 12, 16, 20 or 28 penalty's, but after 32 penalty's, which took a half an hour.
Finally SC Heerenveen player Gianni Zuiverloon took the last penalty after Ferdinand missed his one.
Again there was such a great explosion of 26.000 people screaming, I couldn't scream any more, I screamed, yelled, sang, cried and laughed for 32 penalty's long, my voice just didn't allow me to make noise any more. The coming quarter of an hour I couldn't say anything any more.
Along with a friend we ran to the catacomb where the players walk through to go to the dressing rooms, with the stupid idea in our heads of maybe getting a shirt from a player, of course everything was guarded by fences and stewards everywhere.
While the whole stadium was singing: "We gaan naar Groningen!" Which means: "We go to Groningen", the city where the final against Serbia will be played.
The day after my voice was nothing, everyone had to listen very carefully to everything I said because every now and then there just came nothing out of my mouth while talking, even now I'm sitting here with a throat that hurts like hell.
That evening I saw Italy's last match this Championship, the match against the Portuguese with as a reward a ticket to Olympic Games.
I didn't saw much of the match, it was very boring and I had a lot to do for school.
What I did see was a very, very good Juventino called Giorgio Chiellini, and a inexperienced, unsure Interista, called Marco Andreolli.
This made me think.
My opinion was always to give youngsters few Coppa Italia matches and some closing stages of games which weren't important any more, at the end of the season or something.
That opinion changed after I saw Andreolli and Chiellini play at the same time. I don't think Andreolli has less potention than Chiellini has, but what Andreolli do misses is experience and regular match fitness.
Chiellini does have this and it is really paying out. After his season with Fiorentina he played in Serie A, his "half" season he played with Juventus in Serie A and the whole season in Serie B, he is a regular player for every single Serie A club.
My opinion has turned 180 degrees, I think we should play Andreolli more or loan him out to any Serie A or B club, so he can catch up the 2 years he is behind on Chiellini, he can catch up, I'm for sure, Chiellini is now I believe 23, I'm very curious to see Marco when he is at that age.
Forza Holland, Forza Italy and far above both; Forza Inter!